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Oman mulls foray into plant-based meat products

(Image for illustration only)
(Image for illustration only)

Oman Flour Mills (OFM), one of the biggest food processing companies in the Sultanate of Oman, is planning a major push into Plant-Based Meat Products – a multibillion industry that is growing exponentially around the world.

OFM Chief Executive Officer Haitham al Fannah said the proposed introduction of Plant-based Meat Products – also known as meat substitutes or vegetarian meat products – is in line with the company’s strategy to emerge as a major food producer in the region.

“Oman Flour Mills always takes into account the global shift in consumer demands when planning its future investment strategies. Worldwide, Plant-Based Products are expected to grow 95 per cent by 2027 and after studying the market carefully, it became clear that introducing these products is not only economically feasible, but will place OFM as a leader in the food industry in the region,” the CEO told the Observer.

According to experts, meat substitutes made from vegetarian or vegan products are part of a thriving global industry driven by rising veganism, as well as concerns over animal welfare and the environment. The market value of the meat substitutes industry approached $21 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow to $23.2 billion by 2024, according to Euromonitor.

“From the environmental side, reducing meat consumption is one of the most important challenges that affect the environment. Livestock farming has a wide ecological footprint and contributes to 18 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing meat with plants would reduce emissions by more than 90 per cent while reducing biodiversity degradation,” a report by Euromonitor explained.

In the United States, for example, vegetarian meat products retail sales of plant-based meat grew by 10 per cent in 2019 compared to retail sales of animal meat, which grew only 2 per cent.

Commenting on the status of the novel project, Haitham al Fannah said the company is in the process of product development, having already identified product segments.

The project is expected to be launched “within 1 – 2 years”, although this would depend on “penetration and opportunities as well”, he added.

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