Middle East Focus: Carabao ice cream, new keto-friendly options in Choithrams, healthier vending machine requests and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Carabao ice cream, new keto-friendly options in Choithrams, healthier vending machine requests and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images
Carabao ice cream, new keto-friendly options in Choithrams, healthier vending machine requests and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images

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Carabao ice cream, new keto-friendly options in Choithrams, healthier vending machine requests and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus.

Carabao ice cream: Filipino brand Arce Dairy to expand distribution in Saudi Arabia following UAE launch

Philippines' carabao ice cream brand Arce Dairy has made its debut in the Middle East with a recent launch in the UAE, and now harbours plans to enter Saudi Arabia and other GCC markets next year.

Brought in by SandBox, the exclusive distributor of Arce Dairy in the GCC region, the brand first made its debut in UAE at the Philippine Pavilion at Expo 2020, before subsequently retailing at supermarkets and groceries across the Emirates, such as Westzone, Choitrams, Al Maya, New Era, and Metro Manila Supermarket.

SandBox is now working with Filipino restaurants in UAE to expand distribution of Arce Dairy’s traditional flavours.

Arce Dairy’s ice cream is made from fresh carabao’s milk. Carabao is a water buffalo native to the Philippines. The milk from carabaos is said to be higher in protein, calcium, iron, phosphorous while lower in cholesterol, compared to cow’s milk. Carabao milk also provides a creamier mouthfeel to the ice cream.

Keto-friendly: UAE’s healthy food brand Thrriv expands into retail with Choithrams listing

Newly established healthy food brand Thrriv has secured retail listings in 17 Choithrams stores across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The UAE-based company started out selling keto-friendly bread, jam, ice cream catered to diabetics in the online space, on its e-commerce store as well as Noon Daily, Kibsons, and Shop Kitopi.

Run by founder and CEO, Radhika Sil told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “When we started Thrriv, it was important to us to engage with our customers who will be able to offer feedback on our products.

“We initially launched on our own e-commerce platform for a few months, before expanding into other e-commerce platforms. Business grew quickly, shortly after, we move into HORECA supplying to hotels and restaurants. We planned to launch in retail in Q4 2021, so the entry into Choithrams in September was earlier than expected.”

‘Expensive and nutrient poor’: UAE survey finds 80% of people want healthier options in vending machines

New data from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shows that 81% of people want healthier food and beverages options in vending machines.

Water, chocolate and chips were reported as the most frequently purchased items currently, according to this online survey distributed to 1250 students and staff at the University of Sharjah, UAE. Traditional vending machines stock snacks, confectionery, and soft drinks, which are mainly energy-dense, and nutrient-poor foods.

As there are currently limited data in the UAE on the frequency of consuming vended foods at universities, and the attitudes and behaviours regarding vending options, researchers from UAE and Australia administered an online questionnaire on the current food choices, and consumers attitudes towards vending machines in UAE.

Findings can be used to inform stakeholders of current vending behaviours and to plan tailored interventions to improve the nutritional quality of vended items and promote healthier food choices​,” researchers published in Foods​.

Food chain woes: Lack of reliable data and understanding on bacterial contamination in Arab countries

Evidence from a review paper has revealed a scarcity of understanding of the magnitude of foodbourne infections in Arab countries.

The study revealed how Salmonella​, Campylobacter​ and L. monocytogenes​ have been frequently detected in various food types in the Middle East, yet the risk factors of these pathogens are not well studied and incidence of human infections not well documented.

Researchers wrote: “(There is) a varying trend in the rates of Salmonella detection in various Arab countries, which might be attributed to the variability in the utilised laboratory methods, as well as variability in food sample types (animal-sourced versus plant-sourced) and their origin (local versus imported).”

Tate & Lyle’s Dubai innovation centre set to drive efforts to cut sugar and calories in the region

The global ingredients specialist has opened a $2m Technical Application Centre in Dubai, designed to help local producers in the bakery, dairy, beverage, sauce and dressing categories to develop formulations that address growing consumers demand in the region.

Tate & Lyle’s food scientists will work hand-in-hand with customers to investigate ingredients and recipes that will help cut the sugar, fat and calorie content in their products. They can also help with adding benefits like fibre and nutrients without affecting the sensory experience.

The centre also boasts advanced equipment and an optimised prototyping process designed to drive and speed up time to market.

“The launch of our new Technical Application Centre in Dubai marks a milestone in our expansion in the region,”​ said Dominique Floch, GM, Turkey, Middle East and Africa at Tate & Lyle.

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