Tate & Lyle welcomed the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to its U.S. $2 million Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre in Dubai, as part of an initiative to reduce sugar and calories in food and drink products in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.
The Ministry, in collaboration with the UAE F&B Manufacturers Business Group, has developed the Middle East’s first Sugar & Calorie Reduction Knowledge Building Programme. Tate & Lyle, utilizing its extensive expertise and technical capabilities, developed the eight-week program, which focuses on supporting food and beverage manufacturers in the region to reduce the sugar and calories in their products.
The program has been designed to increase awareness of the latest technologies available in sugar and calorie reduction, offer practical experience working on specific prototypes in Tate & Lyle’s newly opened Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre and provide ongoing support for F&B manufacturers.
A series of sessions have taken place, hosting more than 390 delegates from the Middle East and North Africa region with representatives from the F&B manufacturing value chain. Key government attendees joined from Dubai Municipality, Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Sharjah City Municipality and Ministry of Health and Prevention, and key universities officials participated from Canadian University Dubai, Al Ain University, and United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
The six-week program concluded with a focus on reformulation in practice, with insight from Tate & Lyle’s specialist team. Other sessions addressed various topics, including how to make indulgent products healthier, the importance of taste, overcoming cost challenges, nutritional data, and the regulatory challenges in sugar and calorie reduction.
Dominique Floch, general manager, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Tate & Lyle, said: “As a result of increased consumer demand for food and beverage options with reduced calories, fat and sugar, manufacturers are now increasingly looking to create products that fit within this healthier lifestyle ethos.
“The challenge faced, however, has always been how to keep the great taste consumers have come to expect while also promoting a balanced diet. Our new Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre brings together Tate & Lyle’s cutting-edge science and technology, world-leading ingredients and unrivalled formulation expertise to make healthy food tastier and tasty food healthier.
“By bringing together the key players within the industry, we wanted to create a collaborative approach and help devise strategies that support the government's goals and underscores Tate & Lyle's purpose of supporting healthy living.”
Saleh Lootah, chairman, UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers, added: “UAE food manufacturing companies are investing in new product development innovations, and this programme will help them get a faster route to market and maintain global standards. Tate & Lyle’s state-of-art R&D facilities are key to strengthening the sector in the region and crucial for investing in UAE national talent.”
Her Excellency Farah Al Zarooni, acting assistant undersecretary for standards and regulations, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), UAE, said: “The Ministry is committed to implementing the directives of the UAE’s leadership to reduce diabetes and obesity rates by addressing the volume of sugar and calories in food products. In partnership with the UAE F&B Manufacturers Business Group and through the support of Tate & Lyle, we have created a platform to raise awareness of the opportunities for F&B manufacturers to produce healthier products and provide the necessary expertise and direction to make this a reality.”
The Tate & Lyle Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre is located on the lake level, Cluster X, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.