In a recent survey on plant-based diets in the UAE, conducted by YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, it was discovered that almost half of the respondents have replaced dairy for a plant-based meal or drink in the past year. Two in five respondents also revealed that they opt for allergen-free dishes when eating out or ordering food. A logical outcome, given that almost half (46%) of UAE’s population is a millennial, and about 60% of millennials worldwide consider themselves as a flexitarian.
A growing number of restaurants, hotels and other eateries have started offering delicious full-fledged plant-based menus and this culinary trend is set to revolutionise dining in the UAE and provide the UAE’s restaurant industry with immense growth potential.
To meet this growing demand, Upfield, the plant-based consumer goods company, has launched its award-winning, 100% vegan and allergen-free cheese brand Violife in the UAE. In addition to Upfield’s current plant-based portfolio, Flora Plant Butter and Flora Plant Cream, the new Violife range of vegan alternative to cheese specifically caters to the needs of those who want to cook and enjoy the most delicious, plant-based recipes. With more than 30 years of development and production experience, Violife is the global leader in vegan alternatives to cheese with a proud history of making great tasting, vegan products since the 90s.
Speaking during the launch, Reinier Weerman, General Manager Upfield North Africa and Middle East said: “There has been a progressive growth in the demand for plant-based foods in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, which confirms the shift to more plant-based alternatives as one of the top consumer trends in the country during and after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. This is fueled by people’s growing concerns about their health as well as the significant environmental impact of dairy and meat production.”
“Health consciousness and environmental sustainability are becoming more fundamental for gastronomes. In response to this growing consumer demand, chefs have started to include dairy-free dishes in their menus, and Upfield is here to support them as they meet the evolving needs of their diners. With the debut of Violife in the UAE, we are giving hospitality businesses and restaurants across the country the opportunity to introduce more vegan-friendly options that are not only delicious but attract a range of new customers who are exploring a plant-based lifestyle,” he noted.
Violife has a range of delicious plant-based products available in various flavors, styles and formats. They are suitable for all kinds of cooking and baking needs, providing Chefs with a key ingredient for vegan dishes. Free from dairy, preservatives, lactose, gluten, nuts, and soya, each product is based on coconut oil and fortified with B12, both of which are known for their health benefits including the vital role in the body’s metabolism.
As part of the launch of Violife in the UAE, Upfield hosted an exclusive event in Dubai to introduce the latest lineup of vegan cheeses, which include shreds, slices, blocks and spreads. The entire range will soon be available in retail stores across the Middle East. In addition, the brand will work closely with several local hospitality businesses and restaurants to help them cater to the increasing numbers of diners looking for plant-based options.
“As restaurants around the world struggle to get their businesses back in full swing following the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important that they understand and adapt to the changing needs of their consumers. By introducing plant-based dishes in their menu, restaurants can scale their businesses by attracting more customers with food allergies, intolerances and dietary restrictions. With Violife delivering a delicious taste, texture and performance that is comparable to dairy cheese, Chefs can maintain their existing customers while attracting new ones. It is a real win-win situation in every way,” added Weerman. f
In the coming weeks, Upfield is set to announce more partnerships and opportunities for its customers to help them expand and support their plant-based menus with Violife.
Image credit: Violife
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Editor, International Bakery
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