BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei-UAE joint venture Saahtain has rolled out its new product brand named Plantasti, billed as the world’s first halal plant-based meat ready-to-eat meals.

The Plantasti product range will be available in selected retail outlets in Brunei, while Sweden will be the first export market, Saahtain said in a statement on Saturday.

The halal manufacturer is a joint venture between United Arab Emirates-based Saahtain Group and Brunei’s Strategic Development Capital Fund under the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

The plant-based meat products are intended and produced to look and taste like meat but are more eco-friendly meat substitutes.

CEO & Founder of Saahtain Adeel Khan said, “Although plant-based products have been around for some time, it is only now that companies are putting deep focus on texture and taste. Without that, people would rather prefer vegan products”.

“In that context, plant-based meat product development is cutting-edge food technology,” he said during the product launch to mark the company’s third anniversary at The Empire Brunei.

Saahtain spent the last eight months working with technical partners in Japan and Germany to produce the new ready-to-eat meals.

“We had our internal production capability and we commercialised ambient long shelf life retort trays,” Khan said, adding that his company has four stock-keeping units of soy, mung beans and wheat protein.

Saahtain’s Al Gourmet halal product range. Photo: Courtesy of BizBrunei

Saahtain said the new product brand is part of its efforts to develop the halal industry.

The joint venture set up its Brunei manufacturing plant at the Salambigar Industrial Park in 2017, with 85 percent of its halal products targeted for export.

Brunei’s halal sector generated $88 million in revenue in 2016.

The sultanate is ranked number eight in the Global Islamic Economy Report 2019/20 for halal food export and development, signifying the importance of the industry’s contribution to Brunei’s economic growth.

Saahtain currently has three brands under its belt, namely Al Gourmet for general retail; TheFoodPouch for military-grade ration packs and Tayyib, specifically produced for humanitarian aid purposes.

The halal manufacturer also supplies food packages to the Royal Brunei Police Force and Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

One of its top-selling products, Al Gourmet’s full range of international flavoured rice and quinoa, was marked “Amazon’s Choice” for its high ratings since it was marketed on the online retailer’s UK website since 2019.