Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: AGWA (AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance), Abu Dhabi's newly launched food and water cluster, has announced that Swiss alternative protein innovation and production specialists NUOS will start operations in Abu Dhabi. NUOS will establish an innovation centre and food manufacturing facilities for alternative protein production. The company will create an HQ in Abu Dhabi to expand its presence in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The company's presence in Abu Dhabi will help the Emirate tap into the growing food and water market, projected to reach Dh77.4 trillion by 2045. The global climate crisis makes it crucial to reduce dependency on animals in the food system to reach net-zero targets. The food industry is responsible for 34 per cent of human-made GHG emissions globally, second only to the energy sector. Although there are pockets of innovation in alternative proteins, limited scale and fragmentation hinder their impact.

With this partnership, NUOS aims to become a top independent Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation facility for alternative proteins, delivering scale, quality, and price parity with conventional meat products. The company will collaborate with Abu Dhabi-based institutes and universities to advance innovative and sustainable food technologies and build local talent capabilities.

Badr Al-Olama, Director-General at the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said: "The development of a world-leading alternative protein production facility in Abu Dhabi marks a significant step forward for both the UAE and the wider region. Once operational, the facility will add scale, diversity and accessibility to our growing food ecosystem, bringing with it real-world benefits that will be immediately felt by consumers."

Bjoern Witte, Chairman of NUOS, said: "NUOS AG was created to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system. Amongst all of the nations' proposals NUOS received, it was clear from the outset that Abu Dhabi would be the natural partner. Through a combination of their vision, commitment, local infrastructure and long-term partnership appetite we felt that we could accelerate this transition to a sustainable food system together, and create the gold standard for the food industry globally."

AGWA, led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and ADIO, aims to become a global hub for innovative food and water technologies. It supports local suppliers and exporters, addresses global food demand, and leverages technological advancements to ensure food security. AGWA builds on Abu Dhabi's advanced food and water production expertise and its traditional solid farming base.

Abu Dhabi is home to more than 24,000 farms, of which 50 per cent are in the Al Ain region. Over recent years, ADIO has partnered with many innovative food and water companies focused on developing solutions for desert and arid climates.