UAE: Desert grown plant ‘Salicornia’ set to replace salt to make healthy burger patties

A hardy plant grown with the use of salt water is flourishing in the UAE's desert farms and is helping to make healthy burgers, which shows sustainable agriculture's potential in the most challenging conditions.

A hardy plant grown with the use of salt water is flourishing in the UAE’s desert farms and is helping to make healthy burgers, which shows sustainable agriculture’s potential in the most challenging conditions.

Salicornia, a succulent, is already in use as a salt replacement in burger patties, which has become a farming success in the Emirates and imports almost all of its food.


The head of marketing and innovation at Global Food Industries, a frozen food manufacturer, Tina Siegismund, said, “You have the salty flavour with less sodium, but you also get other benefits.”

The asparagus-like plant lessens the sodium content by almost 40% in the company’s healthy burgers, which also have chicken, kale and quinoa.

Local to parts of North America, South Africa, Europe and South Asia, the plant is perfect for the UAE’s climate and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as per Ms Siegismund.

The cultivation of Salicornia started last year on several farms around the nation as part of an experiment utilising brine run-off from desalination plants by the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture in Dubai.

The chief scientist at ICBA, Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle, stated that research was now going on to generate more of the ‘high-value crop’, which sells for over $20 per kilogram in France.

Lopez-Lavalle further added that they went from building this prototype to piloting at scale with over eight farmers, and now the next thing is how to scale up.


In the coming days, salicornia could become an essential food ingredient.

If there is an economic value and the production system is well developed for this, it can become a replacement for salt and other micronutrients that are added artificially to processed food.

For now, salicornia stays a niche product, its health benefits are now known by many people, admits Ms Siegismund.

It is not a product that makes huge, huge profit, but we have faith in it and will continue to have it, she added.

Burger patties made with the use of Salicornia
Burger patties made with the use of Salicornia

Tariq Saeed


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read More

Dubai Court sentenced five individuals to jail for posting video of Dubai Police arrest operation online

Five individuals who circulated and published a video online showing Dubai Police carrying out an arrest which went viral on social media have been imprisoned for one month.

Dubai: Criminal Court sentences life imprisonment to Asian man for raping African girl

The Dubai Criminal Court sentences a 43-year-old driver to imprisonment for life for raping a passenger in the company vehicle.

WhatsApp down causes outpour of compalints by users

Popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp is reportedly down in various countries, and users are reporting issues in sending and receiving messages.


Saint Lucia: “I am a strong advocate of regionalism”, says PM Phillip J Pierre while supporting regionalism

Saint Lucia: Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Phillip Joseph Pierre, has recently shared his views and thoughts regarding regionalism in the country, expressed his support towards the such aspect, and stated, "I am a strong advocate of regionalism.” 

Abu Dhabi citizens to experience unique shopping experience in newly renovated fish market

A recently renovated fish market which offers a unique shopping experience has been launched in the Mina Zayed district of Abu Dhabi.

Will Smith extends apology to Chris Rock

Hollywood Actor Will Smith apologizes for smacking the host of the 94th Academy Awards - Chris Rock, on Sunday. Issuing a public apology, Smith said he went out of line.