Is Dubai Leading the Way in Future Food Technology?
Mokshita P.
10X Technology

Is Dubai Leading the Way in Future Food Technology?

Collaboration and Innovation Key to Meeting Global Food Security Challenges. Highlights include cultured meat, plant-based alternatives, and precision fermentation.

Hey, did you hear about the new report from the Dubai Future Foundation? It's pretty fascinating. They're focusing on enhancing food security by leveraging scientific advancements in alternative proteins. This is crucial since the Agri-food systems (AFS) currently employ around 1.23 billion people and support 3.83 billion people in households connected to AFS globally.

The report is titled "Mission Possible: Food Security – A Role for Alternative Proteins." It's part of a series of reports and initiatives by the Dubai Future Foundation aimed at preparing key sectors for future challenges and opportunities, which strengthens Dubai's role as a leader in future preparedness.

The launch of this report was announced at an event hosted by the Dubai Future Academy in collaboration with Dubai Municipality and "Food Tech Valley." The event included experts, scientists, researchers, and startups working in the field of future food and innovative food production technologies. They discussed technology-based sustainable alternatives and even sampled foods produced using futuristic techniques.

The report highlights the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders in the food value chain – including government, regulatory bodies, companies, and consumers – to explore innovation in food production systems for ensuring food security. This is especially important given the estimate that by 2030, we'll need to supply 374 million tons of meat due to rising incomes and population growth. Interestingly, the production of cultured meat is expected to reach 2.1 million metric tons by then, with a market value of US$25 billion.

Plant-based meat is another area seeing significant growth. The report notes that this sector is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 20.6 percent by 2030. Plant-based meats are already becoming popular alternatives to traditional meat, mimicking its taste and texture using plants or fungi.

Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, the Deputy CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, mentioned that the goal of the report is to spark discussions about the importance of innovative technologies in food production. He emphasised that these technologies can address challenges like environmental impact and carbon footprint while promoting resource efficiency and sustainability in line with the UAE's national food security strategies.

The report also delves into precision fermentation, noting that 57 percent of companies in this sector were founded in the past three years. From 2016 to 2022, investment in this sector was around US$5 billion. The global precision fermentation industry generated US$1.3 billion in revenue in 2021, and this is expected to soar to US$34.9 billion by 2031.

To ensure sustainable growth in the alternative protein sector, the report includes several recommendations. These include meeting all health and safety standards for new food products, establishing appropriate legislation, developing clear commercialisation guidelines, and increasing investments in sustainable production technologies. Engaging with consumers to ensure cultural and social appropriateness of these new technologies is also highlighted as essential.

This report is a comprehensive look at the future of food security, emphasising the need for innovation and collaboration to meet future challenges.

Is Dubai Leading the Way in Future Food Technology?