UAE – Abu Dhabi-based Novel Foods Group, a subsidiary of Gewan Holding, has inked an agreement to construct a US$500 million biotech production hub in the UAE, focusing on precision fermentation.  

The deal was signed between Novel Foods Group, which is a subsidiary of the investment conglomerate Gewan Holding, Glatt Group, a German expert in plant engineering, BioEngineering AG, a Swiss company specializing in engineering and design, and CB Consultancy AG, a Swiss company engineering solutions for cutting-edge industries. 

The primary focus of the new biotech production site is on Brazzein, a natural sweet protein renowned for its sugar-like taste, with sweetness levels thousands of times greater than traditional sucrose.  

The commercial applications of Brazzein span various industries, including beverages, confectionery, bakery, dairy, and ice cream. 

Alaa Al Ali, Shareholder and Member of the Board of Novel Foods Group, highlighted the company’s commitment to providing a sweet experience without compromising health, stating, “We believe people should enjoy the sweetness they love without sacrificing health or taste.” 

This initiative comes amid the surging demand for alternative sugar solutions, with the global alternative sugar market growing at an impressive yearly rate of approximately 5 percent, outpacing the traditional sugar market, which grows at 1 percent annually. 

Brazzein, traditionally derived from West African berries, faces challenges in terms of harvesting due to remote locations and limited availability.  

Precision fermentation, a combination of traditional fermentation and precision biology, emerges as a solution to economically bring brazzein into the commercial market. 

The Novel Foods Group’s commitment to innovation and health is further evident through existing partnerships with universities and research institutions.  

The company engages in creating brazzein-infused recipes, organizing tastings, and collecting valuable consumer feedback. 

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