ABU DHABI // Residents will be able to savour the sweet taste of a "five-star" indoor food market when it opens at the Mushrif Mall within the next two months.
And thanks to state-of-the-art waste management and ventilation systems, The Market will be spotless and odourless.
"We want to give customers a sort of 'five-star market' where bargains and negotiations will still be retained but it will be odour-free, cleaner and managing its waste," said V Nandakumar, the head of corporate communications at Emke, the company behind the project.
It will be the largest and most technologically advanced produce market in the Middle East, spanning more than 18,000 square metres and showcasing 150 tonnes of fresh produce every day.
The Market, on the mall's ground floor, will be divided into three parts: fruit and vegetables, with 75 stalls; meat and poultry, with 43 stalls; seafood, with 80 stalls. So far, more than 150 suppliers have expressed an interest in leasing a stall.
Each stall will have its own cold-room, chiller room facility, drainage system and waste management.
"Although our aim was to give the feel of a market, we wanted to remove the basic part of it, which is its odour, to make it more hygienic and approachable," said Mr Nandakumar.
The stands and their preparation area will be kept at 18°C and the common area for customers will be at 21°C.
The ventilation is built-in with a special suction system to get rid of any smells emitted by the food. The technology was tried at LuLu Hypermarket and "it was successful".
"And no waste will be accumulated next to the food sold," added Mr Nandakumar.
The meat section will showcase everything from local meat to prime cuts from Australia and Brazil. A special area for camel meat will also be on display.
"But the centrepiece of art will be the fish market. We all love going to fish markets but odours and [lack of] hygiene might put us off."
Much of the fruit and vegetables will come from local farms, many of which are part of the Farmers' Services Centre.
Imported produce will also be available.
"But our emphasis will always be to promote local farming," said Mr Nandakumar.
"We want to highlight local organic produce because there are farms that many people aren't aware of that produce organic food locally. We see a lack of awareness so we're trying to bridge that gap."
The quality of the food entering the market will be carefully monitored by inspectors from the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.