Halal Industry

Dubai’s F&B leaders spotlight food sustainability

Published 01 Sep,2021 via Arab News - Economy - Representatives from the Dubai food scene came together to discuss and understand the importance of food sustainability during an event organized by the French Dairy Board and the European Union.

The roundtable was part of an initiative launched by the French Dairy Board in 2020, with the support of the European Union, a campaign created to highlight the need for sustainable development within the French dairy sector.

It covers the entire dairy supply chain by focusing on four key areas of sustainability performance, including economic and social, food safety, food nutrition, and responsible production (animal welfare and the environment).

With the UAE importing billions of dirhams of food every year, there is still an opportunity to be sustainable. French cream follows strict production rules, so despite being exported around the world, this product is still sustainable thanks to the measures that have been implemented in France.

Attendees at the event included many of the leading lights in the Dubai food and beverage scene, including Orit Abdurahman, founder and CEO of Boon Coffee Roaster; Sophie Corcut, brand and sustainability manager at Spinneys; Kathy Johnston, chief chocolate officer of Mirzam Chocolate; and Omar Shihab, sustainability lead, general manager, founder of BOCA DIFC.

The group also included Samantha Wood, founder of restaurant review site Foodiva; Chef Russel Impiazzi, executive chef, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk; Chef Romain Castet, executive pastry chef, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk; Eugenie Dronneau, founder and CEO of the Foodkarma app; and food influencer Diana Zavzeatii of @BusyAvocado.

Topics of discussion included the need to influence and teach others to adopt a sustainable approach, where the UAE is now and how the community embraces sustainability, the need to source sustainable food both locally and internationally, and food waste.

Addressing quality and sustainable sourcing, Chef Romain said: “As a pastry chef, the quality of ingredients is essential. I can’t compromise when it comes to sourcing items like French cream. I know what French cows eat and how they are treated, so I know the cream is the best, but also sustainably produced.”

Chef Impiazzi reiterated the point by highlighting the importance of making small wins that are easy to achieve. He said: “It is important to keep sustainability top of mind and highlight the small ways you can reduce food waste. We need to move away from the waste mentality that just because it’s easy to throw something away doesn’t mean we should.”

The panel also discussed COVID-19, addressing the devastating impact it has had on the food industry, pushing sustainability down the agenda.

Foodiva founder Wood said: “I do think because of COVID-19, sustainability has taken a backseat. We were getting somewhere in terms of education and awareness and getting the consumer to think differently and ask the right questions, whether in the supermarket or a restaurant. I think because of COVID-19, other priorities have superseded the movement.”

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