Forget the fast: slow food picks pace in UAE

Ritika Sharma / Emirates Business

A lot is being talked about fast food; its pros and cons. But, did you know there is ‘slow food’ as well? A concept of dining that combines whole foods that are locally or home grown, is fast picking pace in the UAE.
Trends in the F&B industry in the UAE are moving towards healthy eating which opens ways for the slow food industry to flourish. Slow food is expected to play a major role in the F&B sector which is expected to grow to AED 48.5 billion by 2018 growing at a pace of nearly 4 percent. According to Nielsen’s ‘Global Health & Wellness Survey’, 83 percent of UAE respondents said they were willing to pay more for healthy foods which will feul the growth.
Cashing upon the growing popularity of this concept, lemongrass, mint, Indian borage, oregano, basil, cucumber, zucchini, capsicum, baby marrow, pineapple, bitter gourd, sweet potatoes, garlic and pumpkin are among
the vegetables and herbs are being grown at the UAE’s first
ever urban rooftop garden in TECOM, Dubai.
“Introducing the Urban Garden project to TIME Oak Hotel & Suites allows us to provide high quality food with a flavourful taste that is fairly priced and produced and transported in a responsible way,” said Mohammad Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels Management.
The TIME Urban Garden project, located at TIME Oak Hotel & Suites, has been designed to educate people of all ages about the upkeep and care of a living garden. The concept, inaugurated on 6 January 2016, is built around the principles of the slow food movement, which champions “good, clean and fair food” for consumers and producers thanks to high quality, natural and fairy priced goods for all.
“It is in line with our ethos of making space available that would otherwise be under-utilised. Although there is an initial investment form our side, the cost
of implementing the rooftop garden is far outweighed by the social and environmental benefits which will be felt for years to come,” he added.
Experts at the Gulfood 2016, will be talking about the topic. A dedicated event for assessing the sustainability of global food production under current processes and finding out how a wider adoption of meat-free diets may present a solution to the looming global food supply crisis will be a much sought after part of the event this time.
The Urban Garden grows organic, heirloom vegetables, herbs and fruit from seed or stem propagation, without the use of chemicals and industrially produced pesticides. All work is carried out by volunteers from Slow Food Dubai, the first organisation of its kind in the GCC, aided by TIME Oak engineering, food and beverage staff and chefs.
The TIME team was trained directly by the founder of Slow Food Dubai, Laura Allais.

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