food companies in uae

How food companies in the UAE preserve and promote local cuisines

29 January, 2024 | #UAE

The United Arab Emirates has transformed into a haven of multiculturalism, and hosts a diverse population of people from various cultural backgrounds. One aspect of this multiculturalism that sticks out is the food scene in the UAE. However, while there is a growing global influence on the culture, the Emirates have a strong presence of local cultures and a deep-rooted sense of indigenous pride. Owing to this, a growing movement that aims to preserve the local culture and cuisines has emerged, and this movement is being spearheaded by food companies in the UAE. Particularly, local food companies, which are playing a crucial role in this endeavor, not just safeguarding traditional recipes but also innovating on them and introducing them to a wider audience.

Understanding Emirati cuisine and its rich heritage

Emirati cuisine is vibrant and diverse, drawing inspiration from Arab, Persian and Indian flavors. Emirati cuisine boasts a unique blend of influences, drawing from Arab, Persian, and Indian flavors. Local dishes like machboos (spiced rice with meat or seafood), luqaimat (sweet dumplings), and balaleet (sweet vermicelli) capture the essence of Emirati food culture, passed down through generations of the local population. Emirati cuisine means a lot more than just food to the people of the UAE. It’s a culture that celebrates a bond and represents family gatherings, evening meals and roots to the land. It falls on FMCG companies in Dubai and the rest of the UAE to respect and work to preserve this culture.

The role food companies in the UAE play in preserving this culture

While the UAE is growing into a global economy at a rapid rate, food companies have recognized the importance of preserving this heritage. Leveraging the increased influence of the Emirates at a global scale, these companies have been working on introducing Emirati cuisine to the rest of the world through these channels and bringing them under the international spotlight. For instance, the Al Maya group is partnering with local bakeries in Dubai to provide bakery products for local delights and cuisine, and makes them available in their chain of superstores,to the multinational populace of cities like Dubai. Major food and beverage companies in Dubai are taking efforts to source their ingredients and products from local suppliers and amplify them in the global market.

Meanwhile, companies like Bateel have taken to establishing a global presence for locally sourced ingredients like special types of dates grown in the Emirates and camel milk. Companies like Al Nassma Chocolate have gone for a more innovative approach, wherein they make western dishes and desserts like chocolates using locally sourced ingredients, creating a unique fusion of local and western. Their approach has attracted a wider audience to unique local flavors and increased awareness about ingredients unique to the Emirates.

Promoting Local Delights: From Traditional Fare to Modern Fusion

Beyond preservation, local food companies are actively promoting Emirati cuisine through various channels. Restaurants like Al Fanar and Leila offer fine-dining experiences showcasing Emirati dishes in an elegant setting. These establishments not only serve delicious food but also educate diners about the cultural significance of each dish employing unique methods of storytelling.

The food and beverage industry in the UAE

organizes various food festivals and events like the Dubai Food Festival, the upcoming Gulfood 2024 and the Sharjah Ramadan Iftar Festival provide platforms for local food companies to showcase their offerings. These events attract both locals and tourists, fostering cultural exchange and appreciation for Emirati cuisine. In addition to this, the UAE is also growing as a powerhouse in the fashion industry. The local cuisine is promoted at fashion events hosted by some of the top clothing brands in Dubai.

Social media also plays a vital role in promoting local delights. Homegrown chefs and food bloggers are documenting traditional recipes, sharing cooking tips, and creating visually appealing content that captures the essence of Emirati cuisine. This online presence not only keeps traditions alive but also inspires a new generation to explore and appreciate their culinary heritage.

All these efforts by local food companies in the UAE are contributing to the preservation and global promotion of Emirati cuisine is not ensuring that Emirati culture not just survives, but also flourishes. By blending tradition with innovation, they are introducing local flavors to a wider audience, fostering cultural appreciation, and creating a sustainable future for Emirati food culture. As the UAE's culinary scene continues to evolve, one thing is certain: the taste of tradition will remain at its heart, thanks to the dedication of these passionate food companies.

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