How Suppliers are Leading the Change in Sustainability

Ranked 4th globally in bottled water consumption, with each person using 450 plastic bottles annually, the UAE faces a critical question: How much longer can this continue? In this blog, we examine the innovative projects being led by forward-thinking suppliers who are leading the change towards a more sustainable future.


The UAE’s move towards Sustainability

Consumers in the UAE are looking for eco-friendly options, so the F&B industry needs to implement sustainability measures. Restaurants are starting to focus on sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly packaging, and reducing waste. More restaurants are offering plant-based meals and sourcing local ingredients. This calls for a growing need for environmentally responsible food choices. There is one supplier that is making a significant move into the sustainability space is Barakat.  

Rashid Mohamed Alabbar, a Board Member of Barakat says “Barakat's new packaging is the result of our hard work and research and is our innovative solution that fits the UAE's current sustainable initiatives and landfill situations.”

Barakat, the UAE’s leading produce brand, is turning packaging into a chance for innovation. Barakat is taking on sustainable practices, actively supporting restaurants in making eco-friendly decisions. Barakat plays an important role in improving the restaurant business by offering sustainable items such as biodegradable packaging and locally produced ingredients.

Sustainable Packaging

Excessive food packaging has created an environmental crisis and an overwhelming amount of waste. 40% of all plastic is used in food packaging, and only 14% gets recycled globally (National Geographic, 2021). Until plastic ultimately breaks down, which usually takes thousands of years, they clog up landfills and can cause harm to animals if not disposed of correctly. Barakat’s beverages are packaged in US FDA-approved 99.9% biodegradable bottles and they biodegrade within 5 years, leaving the soil with rich organic material. Barakat saw the need for Innovation in packaging to ensure we make strides towards reducing waste. 

"At Barakat, our mantra is putting the planet first in everything we do," says Prapthi Rai, Head of Quality and Sustainability at Barakat. "Right now, we're focused on making sustainable products that are good for the environment and reducing waste to lower our carbon footprint."

Sustainable Sourcing

There is no denying that importing and transporting food has a negative environmental impact in terms of both financial costs and carbon emissions. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 10% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the worldwide movement of food. The UAE, which imports large amounts of food because of its dry climate, has a particularly high carbon footprint when it comes to transportation.

Barakat has now started sourcing their produce from more than 400 local farms within the UAE. By doing this, food waste and the carbon emissions linked to long-distance travel are reduced. Barakat's sourcing strategy demonstrates their dedication to ethical pre-harvest practices, consistent with their larger environmental commitments. 

Organic Waste Management

Food waste is a serious problem in the UAE, amounting to about 197 kg of food waste per year. Barakat's creative approaches towards waste management are helping to lower this concerning number. Barakat creates compost from their fruit pulp and peels, which not only lessens its impact on the environment but also replenishes the soil. This closed-loop method completes a positive cycle of sustainability by improving the soil and reducing the negative effects of waste on the environment.

Technology and Innovation

Conventional supplier processes follow outdated methods that contribute negatively to the environment. The widespread use of single-use plastics in packaging has become a symbol of convenience yet is a serious risk to ecosystems. Conventional packaging materials, such as non-biodegradable plastic containers and covers, end up in landfills and seas, where they disintegrate over hundreds of years and emit toxic chemicals.

Smart supply chain solutions improve procurement efficiency, reduce waste, and optimize resource use. Blockchain technology increases transparency in ingredient sourcing and delivery, allowing customers to make more informed decisions about the sustainability of their food. The industry is seeing an increase in the use of innovative packaging technologies, including eco-friendly materials such as compostable and biodegradable choices, to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials. 

As suppliers use innovation and technology to improve sustainability, a wave of change is sweeping the industry. Barakat has embraced this new wave in a strategic partnership with KASO

Barakat has partnered with KASO, a B2B food procurement platform, to improve efficiency across all its operations. Implementing KASO has also played an important role in reducing food wastage. The precise order management facilitated by KASO ensures that supplies match restaurants’ orders accurately, minimizing order errors and unnecessary waste.

Suppliers are restructuring their way of doing things, realizing that overpackaging and carbon-intensive shipping is unsustainable, ultimately driving the industry toward a greener future as proactive innovators rather than passive participants.