vegan tuna incense ice cream

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Gulfood, Dubai’s popular annual food and beverage show, is back. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center from February 13-17, the 27th season of the event showcases the latest innovations and products from companies around the world.

This year, more than 4,000 companies from 120 countries are participating, making for a delightfully versatile look at what’s new and trending in the culinary space.

Additionally, Gulfood 2022 champions the latest innovations in sustainable packaging and zero-carbon food products.

With many of these products soon to hit the Middle Eastern market (some of which have already been released), consider this a preview of what’s soon to hit a supermarket shelf near you.

Emirates spice crisps

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more international brands cater to local food tastes. When it comes to snacks, Hunter Foods went all out last year with hand-baked potato chips in flavors like shawarma, fattoush and shakshuka.

This year, they are back with a limited edition to pay tribute to the United Arab Emirates: Emirati Spice flavored crisps. It was created in collaboration with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and Dubai SME.

vegan fish

If the past two years have been all about plant-based beef, followed by plant-based chicken, it seems like the time has come for plant-based seafood to shine.

French company Kokiriki has launched Veg-Toona, a vegan tuna alternative that “looks like real fish with the same taste, but has never seen the sea”.

The tuna substitute is made from soy protein, non-GMO, palm oil and cholesterol free, and can be eaten hot or cold.

Date sugar

Al Barakah Dates' date sugar responds to the region's love of fruit.  Pawan Singh / The National

It’s nothing new, but given the area’s appeal and accessibility to dates, date sugar is certainly a game-changer.

It is made by grinding the natural fruit into a fine powder, creating a sugar substitute. Although it doesn’t completely dissolve when added to water – which means it’s not the best option for your coffee or tea – it’s considered a natural way to sweeten smoothies. and pastries.

Local brand Al Barakah Dates says the product, which is already in stores, has been popular, with the biggest markets for it in the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Bangladesh.

Locally made plant-based cheese spread

Freakin' Healthy is launching three flavors of plant-based spreadable cheese - Original, Chili Spice and Smoked Paprika.  Photo: Agthia

Plant-based cheese is certainly not new, but there was still room for innovation in the field because the first products gave us only a taste of what could be achieved.

Abu Dhabi food and beverage giant Agthia and local snack brand Freakin’ Healthy have launched the first plant-based cheese spread produced in the United Arab Emirates – and it comes with a variety of flavors for to start up.

The product is made from cashew nuts and uses high pressure processing technology to extend the shelf life of the cheese while retaining its nutritional content. Some flavors you can expect to see on shelves soon are Original, Chili Spice, and Smoked Paprika.

Charcoal bread

Charcoal infused bread on display at the Abel & Schafer stand at Gulfood.  Pawan Singh / The National

If there’s anything social media has proven, it’s that we eat with our eyes first. With more and more brands looking to create dishes that taste as good as they taste, there’s been an appetite for ingredients that offer a different look. Think matcha and beets – and activated charcoal.

German company Abel & Schafer and partner Truebell showcased a variety of charcoal-infused breads at Gulfood, hoping to introduce a flour derivative to the market in the future.

“More restaurants in the UAE are looking for these products,” says Michael Muhry, a chef at the brand. “If you go to any burger joint, they want a burger with black buns, for example. And if you go to cafes, there’s a demand for a black and white croissant.

Incense ice cream

Incense ice creams were on display at the Mazoon Dairy booth at Gulfood.  Photo: Mazoon Dairy

Frankincense may be known for its heady scent and is commonly used in oils, perfumes, and soaps, but the food and beverage industry may find a new use for it.

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Mazoon Dairy from Oman introduced premium frankincense flavored ice cream at Gulfood, as well as frankincense flavored milk.

The idea is not fresh, but has been an experiment in food blogging circles. Only now could it be available in our local stores.

Updated: February 13, 2022, 2:22 p.m.

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