Prince Khaled to Speak on Future of Food, Sustainability in the Middle East
Saudi entrepreneur Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed will appear at an event leading up to the Middle East Agri-Food Summit next month to discuss food insecurity, food production, and the impact of animal agriculture on climate change.
The prince, who was born in California, and spent his early years in Riyadh under the mentorship of his father, the philanthropist HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, is a member of the Saudi royal family.
Prince Khaled is an outspoken advocate for clean energy, healthy living, and the humane treatment of animals. He is also a longtime supporter of plant-based eating and has made the focus of his investment ventures innovative companies that help move our foods systems to more sustainable practices. He has been described as a technology enthusiast with investment holdings on five continents. Prince Khaled works to disrupt the conventional approach to animal agriculture, advocating for more sustainable and environmentally safe practices. His father is also the Founder and Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company.
“I advocate for realistic progress; not crazy ideas that will never happen. I believe that having this discussion rationally and presenting people with options that taste great – not to mention are healthier – will continue to turn the tide,” the prince said in an interview last year.
Alongside Prince Khaled, the panel will invite industry experts across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) including officials from Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The panel intends to discuss the future and potential of innovative food systems such as alternative protein and environmental agriculture, aiming to promote an environmentally conscious perspective on both regional and international food production.
The pre-summit conference will help determine new methods and practices that will boost the accessibility of plant-based and nutritious foods. Among other topics, the panel will consider how to make nutrient-rich and sustainable food more affordable and more accessible.
Prince Khaled decided to adopt a plant-based lifestyle in 2009, citing his decision initially stemmed from health reasons. Eventually, the prince realized the limited amount of plant-based options shortly after going vegan and became determined to change the food supply and the entire food production industry.
“Once I committed to a vegan lifestyle and was constantly shocked by the lack of vegan options, I knew that the clean meat and plant-based business models would be big,” the prince told Vegconomist earlier this year. “It was so clear that there was a massive market just waiting to be serviced, and they would be loyal customers and brand advocates.”
Beyond his own veganism, Prince Khaled discovered the link between plant-based eating and the environment. The Saudi prince founded his own venture capital firm, KBW Ventures, and serves as founder and Chairman, with one goal being to promote sustainable and innovative food tech companies worldwide. The venture capital firm often invests in plant-based companies and figures including Memphis Meats, Moku Foods, Bond Pet Foods, Turtle Tree Labs, Rebellious Foods, and Beyond Meat.
Prince Khaled has predicted that plant-based meat products will become cheaper than actual meat by the year 2025. During an interview with CNBC, he explained that he hopes to invest in “companies that solve problems that the world is going through right now,” highlighting the negative consequence that animal agriculture has on the environment.
The company’s website claims that it “invest[s] in companies that drive the future.” The portfolio of plant-based and cell-based food companies reflects his support for sustainable food production Through his investments he plans to promote this healthy lifestyle across the Middle East and around the globe.
“If one person decides to go for a plant-based burger over a factory-farmed one, I’m happy,” bin Alwaleed continued. “That’s one more person through the gate. I’ve had a lot of people on social media talk about how they have gone vegan or at the very least they are now flexitarian and filtering animal products out more and more often. I advocate for realistic progress; not crazy ideas that will never happen. I believe that having this discussion rationally and presenting people with options that taste great – not to mention are healthier – will continue to turn the tide.”
The New Initiative to Promote Food-Security through Agri-Food Innovation panel is scheduled on September 27, focusing first on initiatives in the Middle East. The remainder of the discussion and conference will continue on September 29th. To listen to the panel or attend the conference virtually, you need to register at this site. The panel will begin at 8:55 a.m. EDT (5:55 a.m. PT) on September 27.