Interesting fact: The majority of people who eat plant-based meats today are not vegans or vegetarians, they’re meat eaters who want diversity in their diet. Hand on heart, this is not an April Fool’s Day claim… the reality is that even big players like Papa John’s have invested significantly in developing products that don’t sacrifice taste and quality, while upholding a planet friendly philosophy.
According to market research company Triton, the compound growth rate in the vegan meat market in the MENA region between 2019 and 2027 is projected at an astounding 9.84 per cent. Globally, the use of plant-based products is on the rise, and the industry itself could be worth more than $140 billion (Dhs 514) by 2029, according to a Barclays Bank forecast.
Taking on the challenge, Papa John’s UAE announced some unique plant-based innovations, introducing new additions to their award-winning vegan menu with the Vegan BBQ ‘NoChicken’, Vegan ‘NoChicken’ Mexican Ole and the Vegan ‘NoChicken’ Super Papa’s. Partnering with Holland-based company, ‘The Vegetarian Butcher’, the products stand true to the claim, “Made by meat lovers, for meat lovers.” The innovations are all about replicating the taste and texture of meat, whilst being better for the planet and kinder to animals.
Papa John’s marketing often reiterates the company’s commitment to ‘Better Ingredients’ and their new ‘NoChicken,’ plant-based pizzas launched under the slogan, ‘Love Pizza? Love the Planet,’ are a definite shout out to the ethical and environmental concerns of their customers.
Talking about the new products, Tapan Vaidya, CEO of Papa John’s UAE, said, “We Love Pizza is the pledge we made at Papa John’s back in 1984 when we first opened our doors. It inspired a promise to make better pizzas with better ingredients, and one of the reasons we can offer better ingredients is thanks to the abundance and generosity of Nature. This natural freshness and quality permeate our menus and many of our ingredients. You can see it in our six-ingredient dough, our unmistakable vine-ripened tomato pizza sauce and the fresh vegetable toppings. Long story short, we believe that if we don’t take care of the planet, our delicious pizzas would not be what they are.
“With ‘The Vegetarian Butcher’, we have found the ideal partner who shares our concerns and our commitment to support our planet. We have expanded on our PETA award-winning vegan menu with some delicious vegan versions of our most loved pizzas, that would tempt any pizza fan. We even have something for the little ones – the vegan NoChicken nuggets.”
One has to only make a cursory scan of social media platforms to see how popular the vegan movement has become globally as well as in the UAE. Hollywood celebrities, sports stars and young influencers like Mia Fizz (@miaslifeofficial) have lifted veganism to a new cool and presented it as a feasible lifestyle option.
In the UAE, Facebook groups such as Vegans Take Dubai, have created message boards posting advice on all things vegan in the city. The group boasts more than 6,000 members and this, as well as the wealth of vegan-friendly restaurant options across the Emirates, is clear indicator that veganism is here to stay.
A survey by housing platform Nestpick concluded that Dubai was the highest-ranked vegetarian-friendly city in the Middle East. Traditionally, it was the 30 per cent Indian expatriate population of the UAE that made vegetarian options a necessity for restaurants, but the vegan movement has crossed cultural and social borders and made it a personal, cross-spectrum choice.
With Papa John’s new additions, this would be the perfect opportunity to surprise a friend with a meat-free pizza! Get your napkins out, a new age of pizza has arrived!