//Words: José Berrocoso//

Vincent Vandenabeele, the founder of Saba Plant-based, is a reputable consultant for food and beverage companies. He is passionate about ancient food processes that includes fermented food and drinks. With over 15 years of experience in the organic snacking industry in France, Vincent decided to move to Dubai in 2015, with the vision of promoting health and happiness while supporting the local industries in the UAE.
In the past couple of years, Vincent observed that the demand for healthy and organic food and beverages was rapidly increasing in the region and decided to fill the gap by introducing an affordable and easily accessible organic beverage in the UAE. This led to the birth of Saba Kombucha, the first 100% raw, organic, low sugar, and unpasteurized Kombucha that is locally brewed in Dubai and provides ample benefits for the body.
Recently, Saba Kombucha, the first all-natural brewed beverage in the UAE announced its rebrand as Saba Plant-based, and the expansion of its probiotic offerings – an all-natural probiotic yogurt – for all health and wellness enthusiasts in the UAE. The new Saba Plant-based probiotic yogurt is 100% organic and will serve consumer’s daily needs for probiotics.
According to Vincent, introducing the new Saba Plant-based probiotic yogurt and rebranding itself as Saba plant-based was done for people who want to make better choices in their everyday lives. He additionally added that “At Saba, we are always seeking innovative ways to create the best products for health and wellness enthusiasts, which has allowed our brand to remain at the forefront of the ever-changing kombucha market in the UAE. Consumers need probiotics that are essential for their gut health, hence the new change.

CityPages Magazine: Tell us a little bit about why you founded SABA Plant Based.
Vincent Vandenabeele: As pioneers in the organic snacking industry in France since 2009, I have always been passionate about organic and healthy food. Probiotic food isn’t so present in people’s daily consumption as it should be. My wife and I wanted to make natural probiotics easy to consume. So, we moved to the UAE with the dream of producing probiotic food that would promote health and happiness throughout the region while supporting the local industries.

CPM: What were the first steps you took in starting the business?
VV: I worked on and refined my special recipes before anything else. I wanted to make sure I was able to locally brew the best Kombucha tailored to the region’s taste and specifications.

CPM: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
VV: Our biggest challenge has been staying price competitive while not using any plastic containers. Being environmentally friendly remains challenging but we have decided to continue using sustainable packaging for the benefit of our clients and the planet.

CPM: Where does kombucha originate?
VV: A legend in more ways than one, Kombucha was created over 2,000 years ago by ancient Chinese Qigong masters. Referring to it as their ‘Immortality Tea’ they would come down from the mountains every Spring to ferment their tea and return in Summer to share the magical elixir. These energy masters believed that it had untapped healing powers and helped create harmony within the mind, body and spirit.

CPM: A lot of people are still hesitant to try kombucha in the GCC. What would you say to these people who might be too scared to try it?
VV: They can always start with the fruity Kombucha, like raspberry or mango because those flavors are more familiar and naturally sweet, so less sour than traditional Kombucha flavors.

CPM: How do you brew your SABA’s kombucha?
VV: Shhh! The secret is in our recipe. What we can say though is; We only use Organic ingredients. We use glass packaging to protect your health and the environment. We have an amazing Mama SCOBY bursting with probiotics. We do not add gas or sugar and only use organic Agave syrup. Our Kombucha is brewed in Dubai

CPM: Why is kombucha an important part of a healthy lifestyle?
VV: It’s an easy way to get your daily dose of natural probiotics and prebiotics that help boost your immune system and maintain a healthy gut! Our gut system is complex and does so much for our body and mind. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Also, Doctors and scientists have determined lately that gut is may not just be the second brain but the first! We would be wise to pay attention and take care of it.

CPM: What are some of the benefits of SABA/ versus other brands at the store?
VV: Saba kombucha benefits: probiotic-rich to support gut flora, helps digestion, fights inflammation, boosts natural immunity and boosts energy.

CPM: What do you do to feel good? Any healthy life hacks or rituals have you got for us?
VV: Morning run by the beach! I try to consume organic products as much as possible and make sure to add fermented food to your diet; it will do wonders for your body!

CPM: You have recently added vegan yoghurts to your portfolio. Can you let us know more about this?
VV: At our company, we geek out on anything to do with live cultures, probiotics and gut-loving bacteria. Dating back as far as 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, it’s amazing to learn that fermented yoghurt was used for the same medicinal, gut-healing benefits as it is today.
We’ve found a way to create a smooth, delicious, yoghurt that’s not only bursting with probiotics but also 100% organic, vegan and dairy-free.
Handcrafted using certified organic Sri Lankan coconuts; we slowly pasteurize and ferment our coconut yoghurt in Dubai to produce live, plant-powered probiotics that help support healthy digestion. Free from dairy, refined sugar and preservatives, our yoghurts are then cooled and served in enviro-friendly glass pots to help curb those sweet cravings, while fueling your gut with all the goodness.

CPM: Where do you see the healthy food industry going in the GCC?
VV: The Healthy food industry is growing at the fast pace in the GCC and I see it continuing to grow as consumers are now more aware of health and environmental impact of their diets. Our goal is to continue to support the growth of the organic and healthy food in the region. Bringing the best products to the region, made in the region.
We are plastic free for the same reason. Supporting our consumers’ health and our planet.

CPM: A message to our readers at City Pages Magazine.
VV: I wish you all a very good year 2021. Health and happiness InshAllah!

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