Middle East Focus: Slurrp Farm UAE focus, foodtech funding, probiotic yoghurt research and more feature in our round-up

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Slurrp Farm UAE focus, foodtech funding, probiotic yoghurt research and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images
Slurrp Farm UAE focus, foodtech funding, probiotic yoghurt research and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images

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Slurrp Farm UAE focus, foodtech funding, probiotic yoghurt research and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus.

Organic growth: Indian children’s food firm Slurrp Farm highlights retail focus for UAE

India-based organic children’s food firm Slurrp Farm is targeting retail expansion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a market which it believes is key to achieving major growth.

Slurrp Farm specialises in making organic food products for toddlers and children, encompassing many categories from cereals to noodles to baked goods, with a focus on using nutrient dense superfoods such as millet, oats, amaranth, ragi and more.

Having achieved initial national success in home turf India, the firm has also moved to focus on the UAE as a major growth market, citing demographic and consumer trends are very much propelling the children’s products sector along.

“The UAE is an extremely exciting market for children’s products, largely due to the presence of a melting pot of people from different cultures that are very health conscious and knowledgeable, thus looking for the best possible products for their children,” ​Slurrp Farm Co-Founder Shauravi Malik told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Investment potential: The countries ripe for foodtech and ag-tech funding in Asia, ME revealed

India, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been tipped as foodtech and ag-tech investment hotspots by regional experts, while Vietnam and the Philippines are said to be among the next wave of opportunities available.

That’s the view of Isabelle Decitre and Vandana Dhaul from investment and advisory firm ID Capital, the organisers of the Future Food Asia Awards.

Dhaul said that the UAE has set up 177 hydroponic farms since 2019, with around 100 producing organic food.

Probiotic yoghurt and liver disease: Researchers embark on RCT to assess impact

A new trial will assess if probiotic yoghurt can be a cost-effective answer to hinder the progress of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Researchers in Iran are enrolling 68 patients with NAFLD, who will be randomly assigned to receive either 300g of probiotic yogurt daily or 300g of plain yoghurt. The probiotic version will contain 106cfu/g of Lactobacillus acidophilus​ and Bifidobacterium lactis ​strains.

The researchers hypothesise that the manipulation of the microbiome may lead to positive effects because current weight loss regimes have limited long-term success.

“Changes in the composition of gut microbiota, called dysbiosis, are strongly associated with the development and progression of NAFLD,"​ they said.

Al Rawabi to set up $177m dairy production facility in KIZAD

KIZAD, part of AD Ports Group’s Economic Cities & Free Zones (EC&FZ) cluster, has announced the signing of a lease agreement with UAE dairy and juice producer Al Rawabi to establish a dairy production facility in Abu Dhabi designed to meet growing consumer demand.

Under the agreement, Al Rawabi will initially develop two square kilometers in KIZAD with an additional three square kilometers set aside for the future. The dairy farm, with an investment of AED650m ($177m) will be home to 10,000 Al Rawabi cows and increase the company’s export efforts across the region.

Abdullah Al Hameli, head of EC&FZ, said, "Al Rawabi’s confidence in KIZAD is a testament to AD Ports Group’s commitment to driving the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy through the supply of high-quality dairy and food products, while also contributing to the growth of the nation’s industrial sector."

Ghana and Dubai in talks to establish cocoa trading platform

Dubai could become a major hub for Ghana’s cocoa by establishing a cocoa trading platform in the Gulf Emirate.

Walid Hareb, Chief Executive Officer of the United Arab Emirates Trade Centre, reached out to Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture saying that such a platform would help Ghana access the European and the Arab markets "because the whole world is in Dubai​".

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