A Qatari entrepreneur managing a plant-based food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing firm in the country is the first woman to be awarded an F&B factory in Jahiz 2 from Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
In a statement to Gulf Times, Raw Middle East (RME) founder Layla al-Dorani emphasised that food security “is an issue that’s at the forefront of Qatar’s priorities and the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
“It plays an essential role in the economic independence of the state’s goals to increase local production and accessibility of healthy plant-based products in the market,” said al-Dorani.
According to QDB, Jahiz 2 is an initiative that leases complete and ready-to-operate facilities to F&B small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In order to accelerate the development of Qatar’s private sector and help diversify the local economy, Jahiz 2 was launched as an initiative offering 16 ready and complete industrial facilities for SME owners and entrepreneurs in the F&B sector, QDB stated in its website.
Amid the impact of Covid-19 on businesses across the globe, al-Dorani called on companies to strictly observe procedures that put employee and customer safety at the forefront.
“We pursued our commitment to ensuring strong guidelines were in place to protect our customers and staff. As the world was struck with the Covid-19 virus, it is now imperative that all companies adhere to proper safety protocols,” al-Dorani said.
Because of RME’s stringent food and safety protocols, and continued commitment to safety and excellence, the company was recently certified ISO22000:2018 by the United Registrar of Systems with UKAS accreditation in February 2020.
Also, RME was already recognised with the international safety management system HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) by SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance) – a leading global inspection, verification testing in June 2016.
As a testament to the company’s dedication to excellence, Superheroes Eat Plants (SEP), which is under RME, won the Green Startup award category at the "4th Qatar Sustainability Awards 2020" organised by Qatar Green Building Council, a member of Qatar Foundation.
SEP is an ethical and mission-led brand that educates schools and businesses on the connection between what people consume and the climate crisis. SEP upholds the motto “changing the way the world thinks, eats and lives in one generation,” said SEP founder Rebekah Gomez, who is also the newly-appointed food director at RME.
RME is also the recipient of the Business Excellence Award from The Bizz Awards for “exceeding the evaluation criteria in business leadership, quality of products and services, management systems, innovation and creativity, corporate social responsibility, and results achieved.”
Last month, Gomez said RME launched Qatar’s first plant-based fridge kiosk in Spar at Tawar Mall, “with other supermarkets to follow.” The fridge is a “first-of-its-kind” place for customers to access plant-based ready-to-eat meals, cold-pressed juices, cold-brew coffees, muffins, cupcakes, donuts, and fresh cut fruit slices by Fruity Friends, a third brand within the RME family.
“A significant proportion of the population now realises the harm traditional forms of eating are causing to both our health and the health of the planet. As a result they want to reduce or eliminate the animals on their plate.
“However, the greatest challenges to becoming more plant based are accessibility, affordability and taste. The plant based fridge concept brings us one step closer to supporting Qatar’s more conscious consumers,” Gomez said.