- Newest burger product uses UAE’s homegrown vegetable – Salicornia, healthier alternative to traditional burgers
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Global Food Industries (GFI), part of the Albatha Group, further solidifies its status as an innovator in the food manufacturing industry. GFI has partnered with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to produce their latest range of Salicornia-based burgers for health-conscious consumers.
ICBA is a non-profit agricultural research center with a unique mandate to identify, test and introduce crops and technologies that are best suited to different regions affected by salinity, water scarcity and drought. It has been working with local farmers in the UAE to grow Salicornia through an initiative funded under the Live Innovation Grant Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai. Salicornia, a salt-loving plant, is grown using reject brine from inland desalination units. This nutritious local vegetable is resilient to heat, drought, and salinity, and thrive in the UAE’s environments.
Ahmed Bayoumi, CEO GFI and IBFI, said, “Our R&D team has been working tirelessly to come up with products that cater to the current demand for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle among consumers.”
“Our partnership with ICBA is a coming together of two organisations committed to innovation, excellence and sustainability. This healthy range of burgers under our Al Areseh brand, is further proof of our commitment to bring consumers with innovative products that are intrinsic to our brand ethos.”
Also commenting on the partnership, Dr. Dionysia Angeliki Lyra, Halophyte Agronomist, Directorate of Programs, ICBA, said “We are proud to launch the Salicornia burgers with GFI. This is a step forward to achieving our goal of boosting local UAE agriculture and promote farming innovation. The UAE’s groundwater is 90% saline which makes it an ideal environment to yield the best Salicornia produce.
“Salicornia is completely safe for human consumption which is why we are focusing on building public awareness and increasing consumers' knowledge about the nutritional benefits of Salicornia-based food products. We are optimistic that the launch of the new burger has the potential to transform the UAE’s burgeoning home-grown crops sector.”
Salicornia is rich in immunity-building properties and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. A natural antioxidant, Salicornia helps reduce the use of salt in dishes by up to 40 percent.
The new range of burgers also use other superfood ingredients such as Quinoa and Kale, making them tastier and more nutritious. They have 25 percent more protein, 4 times more calcium, 12 times less fat and 90 percent fewer calories than traditional chicken burgers.
The burgers will be launched this month and are available in regular and spicy versions.
GFI’s frozen and snacking food divisions were established in Sharjah in 1992 and 2010, respectively. GFI produces renowned brands such as Al Areesh, Arctic Gold and Al Ameer frozen food products, as well as Glenda and Amara snacks.
GFI operates from state-of-the-art food and beverage manufacturing units in Sharjah, managed by a dynamic team of seasoned industry experts, and is certified according to the best global industry practices and standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 22000, Halal, HACCP and BRC.
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is a unique applied agricultural research center in the world with a focus on marginal areas where an estimated 1.7 billion people live. It identifies, tests and introduces resource-efficient, climate-smart crops and technologies that are best suited to different regions affected by salinity, water scarcity and drought. Through its work, ICBA helps to improve food security and livelihoods for some of the poorest rural communities around the world.
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