Launching this month, this latest product range under GFI’s Al Areesh brand is a healthier alternative among burger lovers as it has salicornia as well as quinoa and kale among its key superfood ingredients. A versatile crop grown in the UAE by local farmers, salicornia is a plant that thrives in a saline environment and is a great substitute to table salt. Its use in making the burger patties has reduced sodium content by 40 per cent while retaining the flavour. Salicornia is also known for its antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Commenting on the launch, Ahmed Bayoumi, CEO GFI and IBFI, said, “This new burger range is a result of the commitment of our R&D team who worked tirelessly in coming up with a product that caters to the current demand for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Grown by UAE farmers, salicornia is an innovative crop that is obtained from sustainable sources.”
“I would also like to commend ICBA’s efforts to introduce innovation-led solutions here in the UAE. Our partnership with them is further proof of our commitment to continuously bring consumers with innovative products that are intrinsic to our brand ethos.”
“With a view to boosting local UAE agriculture and foster farming innovation, we are extremely proud to launch the salicornia burgers in partnership with GFI. 90 er cent of groundwater in the UAE is saline, making 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.” said Dr Dionysia Angeliki Lyra, Halophyte Agronomist, Directorate of Programs, ICBA.
Since its formation in the UAE in 1999, ICBA has established itself as a global center of excellence and a go-to research-for-development partner in different regions. ICBA’s uniqueness lies in its focus on improving food security and nutrition, among others.
The new range of burgers are not only tastier but are also more nutritious – with 25 per cent more protein, four times more calcium, 12 times less fat and 90 per cent fewer calories than traditional chicken burgers. The burgers will be 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.