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Swiss-based NUOS partners with AGWA Abu Dhabi to build world leading alternative production facility

Swiss-based NUOS partners with AGWA Abu Dhabi to build world leading alternative production facility

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 15 June 2024: AGWA (AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance), Abu Dhabi’s newly launched food and water cluster, has announced that Swiss alternative protein innovation and production specialists NUOS will commence operations in Abu Dhabi and establish an innovation centre and food manufacturing facilities for alternative protein production. NUOS is the world’s most advanced facility for producing alternative protein at scale, and establishes the category leading innovation, production and commercialisation ecosystem serving the global markets from Abu Dhabi.

NUOS AG will create an HQ in Abu Dhabi, to leverage the Emirate’s strategic location and resources to further its growth in Europe, North America and the Middle East North African market. NUOS MENA will be a central innovation, production and commercialisation hub to facilitate and manage its major projects.

The company’s presence in Abu Dhabi will also play a role in ensuring that the Emirate can capture opportunities in the growing food and water market, which is expected to reach AED 77.4 trillion by 2045.

As the planet is facing a global climate crisis, disrupting dependency on animals in the food system is critical to reaching net zero targets.  The food industry accounts for 34% of human made GHG emissions globally – the second largest contributor after energy – and while there are pockets of innovation in alternative proteins, the rate of impact is limited by fragmentation and minimal scale.

With this partnership, NUOS will be the world leading independent Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation facility for alternative proteins, able to overcome current limitations by delivering scale, quality, and price-parity with conventional meat products, thus unlocking mass demand at price points and product quality that the mass consumer expects.

The company will also collaborate with Abu Dhabi-based research and development institutes in areas related to innovative and sustainable food technologies. Additionally, it seeks to form partnerships with Abu Dhabi based universities to build local talent capabilities related to innovative and sustainable food technologies.

Badr Al-Olama, Director General at the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said: “The development of a world leading alternative protein production facility in Abu Dhabi marks a significant step forward for both the UAE and the wider region. Once operational, the facility will add scale, diversity and accessibility to our growing food ecosystem, bringing with it real-world benefits that will be immediately felt by consumers. Importantly, this development sends a strong vote of confidence about Abu Dhabi’s intent to be an influential global player in sustainable food solutions, where the Emirate is openly embracing a future for food characterised by innovations that deliver impact.”

Bjoern Witte, Chairman of NUOS, said: “NUOS AG was created to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system. Foundational to achieving this goal is creating a giga factory for alternative protein that can meet the global consumer demands for high quality meat alternative products at competitive prices. For the launch of our first giga facility, we have been looking for the right partner who shares the vision, mission and has the ecosystem to drive a global transition.  Amongst all of the nations’ proposals NUOS received, it was clear from the outset that Abu Dhabi would be the natural partner. Through a combination of their vision, commitment, local infrastructure and long term partnership appetite we felt that we could accelerate this transition to a sustainable food system together, and create the gold standard for the food industry globally.”

Led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), AGWA is set to become a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as technologies that increase access to and enable the efficient utilisation of water resources. This innovative cluster is meticulously designed to support local suppliers and exporters alike, serving as a platform to maximise commercial opportunities. The cluster aims to meet increasing global demand, alleviate pressures on agricultural systems, address shifting dietary patterns, capitalise on technological advancements, and support global food security, ensuring a reliable and resilient supply chain.

AGWA builds on Abu Dhabi’s leadership in advanced food and water production methods, as well as its strong traditional farming base. Abu Dhabi is home to more than 24,000 farms, of which 50% are in the Al Ain region. Over recent years, ADIO has partnered with many innovative food and water companies focused on developing solutions for desert and arid climates.

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