Global Food Industries, a UAE-based manufacturer of halal meats and plant-based protein products, has ploughed AED30m (US$8.1m) into its factory in the city of Sharjah to accommodate additional production needs for its new line of cooked foods.

The investment covers new equipment around multi-stage coating, frying and cooking technologies ahead of the launch of ready-to-eat chicken fillets, strips and nuggets, a spokesperson for Global Food Industries (GFI), which exports to Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, told just-food.

GFI expects to double revenues over the next five years with the addition of new products, although the company declined to give details on its current financials. The business supplies retailers in the UAE such as Lulu, Carrefour, Union Co-op, Sharjah Co-op and Nesto, as well as foodservice outlets and quick-service restaurants.

Chief executive Ahmed Bayoumi said in a statement: "When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, a predominantly work-from-home setup for employees and distance learning for schoolchildren, plus the potential risk from food deliveries, presented yet another challenge of having to prepare home-cooked meals three times a day.

"These trends serve as excellent opportunities for us to address the market's need for safe, healthy, delicious and affordable cooked-food products and further grow our business. Investing in expanding and enhancing our production capabilities in this segment and addressing such needs certainly makes a lot of business sense for us at GFI."

Founded in 1992, GFI has only one manufacturing facility but the spokesperson said the company is evaluating the possibility of setting up a new factory outside of the UAE. Its brands feature Artic Gold, Al Areesh and Al Ameer covering frozen halal meat and poultry, seafood, vegetables and plant-based meats. 

The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the diversified Albatha Group, which has a presence in the FMCG sector and also pharmaceuticals, automobiles, real estate and engineering.