Red Sea Farms, SAUDIA Sign MoU to Bring Healthy Meals to Passengers
Red Sea Farms (RSF), a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) spinout agritech business, is partnering with Saudi Arabia’s national airline SAUDIA to provide sustainable meals for passengers in airport lounges and flights.
The collaboration, confirmed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, will provide SAUDIA with high-quality, locally sourced food options, which will help to cut the airline's carbon footprint by reducing its reliance on imported goods.
The alliance will support SAUDIA in its objective to continuously improve its environmental performance and become an aviation industry flagbearer in sustainability.
Red Sea Farms also assisted SAUDIA on menu development and video content used to inform the airline's customers of the health and sustainability benefits of these homegrown options.
Simon Roopchand, CEO of Red Sea Farms Middle East said: "Our new partnership with SAUDIA is another step to introduce our unrivaled fresh produce to a wider and discerning public, while significantly scaling our business.
"We are delighted to partner with the national flag carrier, and aim to be the country's flag carrier for sustainable foods."
The global airline alliance, SkyTeam, via its Sustainable Flight Challenge, calls on its member airlines to deliver locally sourced sustainable produce in their catering. By partnering with Red Sea Farms, SAUDIA is able to serve Red Sea Farms' snack tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to guests.
Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of SAUDIA said: "We are incredibly honoured that our sustainability efforts have been recognized with two awards.
"The Sustainable Flight Challenge has been a unique and noteworthy challenge for our team, who utilized this experience as a springboard for new sustainable initiatives to come."
Red Sea Farms was co-founded in 2018 by agritech expert Ryan Lefers, now CEO of the company, and KAUST professor Mark Tester, world-renowned plant scientist and associate director of the KAUST Center for Desert Agriculture (CDA).
Their proprietary technology, which brings together world-leading plant science, sustainable cooling, light and energy management, and artificial intelligence, reduces freshwater consumption by 85-90%.
RSF's saltwater-based systems can be quickly and easily scaled in challenging climates where conventional farming methods are not possible or cost-effective.
Roopchand added: "If all tomatoes consumed annually in Saudi Arabia were grown with Red Sea Farms' cooling technology, 80,500 tons of CO2 emissions would be saved; the equivalent of over 3,000 flights from Riyadh to Dubai," said Simon Roopchand, CEO RSF Middle East.
Partnerships such as SAUDIA and the Red Sea Development Company are emblematic of the rapid operational progress made by Red Sea Farms to date, and its commitment to actively reduce the carbon and freshwater footprint of the KSA food sector.
With strong financial backing and partnerships with high-profile Saudi businesses already underway, Red Sea Farms is a sustainable food business with room to grow.