Gama spoke to Shahid Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Al Islami Foods.
What key trends do you expect to shape food innovation as a whole in 2021 and beyond?
“The trend tilting toward healthy eating is getting stronger. Within that, from an innovation perspective, we feel plant-based items will take the lead in 2021 and beyond, as 28% of people say they have been eating more protein from plant sources, further boosted due to the pandemic. So comparatively, while more people are expected to try veganism, others will be eating things that taste good and just happen to be vegan – in other words, more awareness but a slower rate of conversion.”
How are frozen foods perceived (for instance, compared to fresh equivalents) in the UAE?
“As a concept, frozen food has infiltrated into all parts of cooking occasions and consumption behaviours and is no longer viewed as a ‘taboo’ or ‘junk’ food – it has become part of the lifestyle. This is especially true for those who have hectic lifestyles, such as working families and single households. The key reason for this behaviour revolves around its ease of preparation, the variety it offers and the taste. Additionally, more people are realizing that it has a preserved freshness element to it.”
Read the full interview in the next issue of Gama News.