FSL debuts Planta, plant-based meat mix, at Gulfood

Food Specialties Limited (FSL), a leading food service ingredient supply company in the Middle East, is launching the region’s first meat-replacement ready-mix at the ongoing Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, UAE. 

FSL was established in Dubai in 1986, founded by Chairman and CEO, Deepak Dhawan. The company’s innovation laboratory has now produced plant-based (vegan) chicken and beef replacements, Planta, created in just five minutes using pea protein, plant fiber and seasoning mixes.

Planta is healthy, sustainable, ethical, convenient and affordable – five key trends that are driving the food industry today, the company said in a statement. The mixes – available in a variety of pack sizes to suit everyone from busy HORECA environments to solo home cooks – are soy, gluten, GMO and allergen free, meaning they are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, ‘flexitarians’ and those with certain allergies and intolerances.  It’s also halal, kosher and free from dairy and egg.

FSL sees Planta being used in dishes such as burgers, kebabs, nuggets, lasagne and kibbeh, to name a few.  Made with the best plant-based ingredients sourced from world-renowned manufacturers, the mixes are free from the cholesterol, antibiotics and hormones present in regular meat products.

Multi-billion dollar market

Research firm MarketsandMarkets suggests the plant-based ‘meat’ market had an estimated value of $4.3 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $8.3 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 14.0%.

This significant growth is being driven by the rising popularity of healthier diets and increased consumer awareness of the health, ethical and environmental benefits offered by plant-based food over animal meat. Government-driven healthier eating initiatives along with significant investments are also driving the global market.

Planta chicken and Planta beef is squarely aimed at the food service sector – such as distributors, restaurants / chefs, catering companies, hotels and ghost kitchens – hence its Gulfood debut.  FSL head of marketing and innovation, Dhruv Dhawan, says: “We keep a close eye on food and ingredient trends in the region and globally. Our new Planta range complements the growing demand in our region and also offers convenience and affordability in a simple solution – we believe it is the perfect new product to launch at Gulfood 2022. 

“Our market research revealed many plant-based products are imported, with the associated higher costs. Our plant-based mix is a regional first, having spent a great deal of time in our innovation lab researching the best blend of ingredients to create a more cost-effective, locally-produced healthy meat replacements.” Sustainable, tasty and cost-effective Launching two new packet mixes – flavored with a bespoke spice blend and designed to replace chicken or beef – the company’s product is simply mixed with cold water in a food processor in five minutes.

The resulting blend can then be made into cutlets, burgers, nuggets, kebabs or other meat-style products, and is customizable in any culinary application which calls for a meat replacement.  “It’s fast, cost-effective, super healthy and designed to appeal to the widest possible consumer base. Planta is available now at half the cost of similar imported products. And it is common knowledge that we need to find meat replacements globally, to support the ever-growing population and meet sustainability goals. 

“Through Planta, we are also helping spur culinary creativity and inspire new dishes in the regional foodservice sector by offering chefs an easy to make, customizable plant-based food solution. Planta is far more sustainable and ethical than meat as it involves no animal slaughter. Through these mixes, FSL is doing its bit to help ensure future food security in the UAE,” adds the marketing and innovation head.  Planta does not require frozen storage and the expense and hassle of cold chain distribution – making it more accessible and feasible.

As it’s a dry powder mix, it’s easily stored, with a long shelf life, and once mixed, can be kept chilled for three days or frozen for up to three months.  About 100 grams of either Planta chicken or beef delivers an excellent nutritional profile rich in plant-based proteins and fiber and without any cholesterol, antibiotics or hormones. Planta is now in the UAE and seeking distribution in Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Oman. With a wide regional network, FSL says it is already seeing a great deal of interest in Planta from multiple distributors, but is looking forward to wowing visitors to the Gulfood event with its exciting new product range. 

FSL, which has won multiple awards for its food innovations such as plant-based shish kebabs, provides ingredients, flavorings, commodities and products to a vast array of regional clients. Working across three divisions, the company is the region’s most trusted, reliable supplier across the entire spectrum of the food and beverage industry in the Middle East and Africa. 

Original article, GDN online

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