Middle East Focus: Baladna's ASEAN dairy self-sufficiency plans, cultivated meat interest, Saudi supplement trends and more feature in our round-up

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Baladna's ASEAN dairy self-sufficiency plans, cultivated meat interest, Saudi supplement trends and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images
Baladna's ASEAN dairy self-sufficiency plans, cultivated meat interest, Saudi supplement trends and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus. ©Getty Images

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Baladna's ASEAN dairy self-sufficiency plans, cultivated meat interest, Saudi supplement trends and more feature in this edition of Middle East Focus.

Dairy self-sufficiency in Asia: Baladna eyes more South East Asian markets after Malaysia success

Qatari dairy giant Baladna is looking at more markets in South East Asia to bring its sustainable dairy self-sufficiency model to, after successfully securing and setting up its joint venture in Malaysia.

When we last spoke with Baladna earlier this year, the firm had just confirmed its dairy venture plans in Malaysia, to initiate operations by 2025 and produce 100 million litres of fresh milk annually within the first three years.

Several months on, the firm has firmed up more aspects of its business strategy and has stated that the initial focus will be on Malaysia’s liquid milk market.

“We’re primarily targeting the Malaysian liquid milk market [as] the self-sufficiency rate for liquid milk (fresh and UHT) in Malaysia is just 15% and it has been in decline for a number of years,”​ Baladna Founder and Managing Director Ramez Al-Khayyat told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Cultivated meat in the Middle East: Low consumer awareness, but huge interest once informed – GOOD Meat

Cultivated meat pioneers GOOD Meat says that consumer awareness of such products is still relatively low in the Middle East, but that there is significant interest to purchase once they have been exposed to the concept.

A recent study conducted by PSB Insights and commissioned by GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., found that only 34% of respondents in six Middle East countries had heard of cultivated meat.

The countries are namely Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The study, which included more than 2,000 respondents, also revealed that consumer awareness of cultivated meat is highest in the UAE and lowest in Egypt.

Saudi supplement trends: Research reveals low levels of consumption among breastfeeding mothers - Cross-sectional study

A first-of-its-kind Saudi Arabian study has found that although dietary supplement use is most prevalent among young, highly educated medical students or professionals, there is a lack of understanding of its importance among breastfeeding women.

The cross-sectional study was conducted through an online self-administered questionnaire among 531 adults (115 men and 416 women) aged 18 to 60 living in Saudi Arabia. The researchers behind the study collected information on participants’ sociodemographic characteristics, use and type of dietary supplements, and attitudes toward and patterns of dietary supplement use.

COP27 climate smart food initiative accused of greenwashing as partners pledge increased investment in innovation

The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) partners have pledged to ramp up their investment in climate smart food systems ahead of Agriculture Day at COP27. But for critics the US$8bn on the table doesn't go nearly far enough and the influence of big ag is all too clear to see.

AIM for Climate is a global initiative launched last November at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) by the United Arab Emirates and the US. Today, partners said that they will double promised investments from partners in climate smart agriculture and food systems innovation.

This has been achieved because the initiative has tripled the number of partners signed-up since COP26.

Animal-free dairy: New Culture attracts new funding; Change Foods eyes up Abu Dhabi for new plant

Two US-based precision fermentation startups making real dairy ingredients using microbes instead of cows have announced significant developments as they gear up to launch next year in the emerging ‘animal-free dairy’ category.

Palo Alto-based Change Foods, meanwhile, has just signed an agreement with KEZAD Group (which offers manufacturing, logistics, trade and distribution services) to design a dedicated commercial manufacturing plant for animal-free casein proteins in Abu Dhabi with the support of the Ministry of Economy of the UAE under the NextGen FDI initiative (designed to help high-tech businesses launch and scale from the UAE) as it gears up to launch next year.

According to chief marketing office Irina Gerry: "We are currently in the pre-development stage, finalizing facility design and as well as costs and timing for construction. Our goal is to begin the next stage in the first half of 2023."

Related topics: Middle East

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