Saudi Arabia signs deals to boost local plant-based food production
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) for Saudi Arabia has signed two new deals to boost plant-based food production in the Kingdom.
The agreements will encourage the use of locally produced agricultural plant products in the development of alternatives to meat and dairy.
According to a report from Arab News, the deals were agreed together with the Saudi government’s Cooperative Societies Council, horticultural production and advisory company Saudi Greenhouses Management and Agricultural Marketing Co., and Ayla Food Options Co., which specialises in healthy food products.
Plans to develop a new research centre have also been announced by the ministry. The space will be used to advance agricultural product development and scale up new technologies for producing meat and dairy substitutes.
The agreement’s goal is to encourage healthier eating habits in Saudi Arabia and offer more locally produced, good quality alternatives to animal-derived products.
As well as promoting healthier diets, it is also hoped the new deals will help to reduce the country’s reliance on traditional livestock production and help towards achieving stronger food security and reducing food waste.
Saudi Arabia’s push towards healthier and more sustainable eating is part of the government’s Vision 2030 agenda, which looks to improve the local economy and citizen’s quality of life within the next seven years.
Support is growing for plant-based meat alternatives in the Middle East, with IFFCO – one of the UAE’s largest food producers – opening a plant-based meat factory in Dubai in March 2023. In May, alt-protein start-up Switch Foods also announced it had opened its first plant-based meat factory in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.