Changes to the production and transportation of meat can definitely help to stem its climate impact.
However, it’s too early to say that we are now at a tipping point where plant-based food is making a significant difference in climate change.
To make a real impact, plant-based meat would have to become a staple across the world, replacing beef, goat, pork and chicken.
Regardless, Hong Kong-based social venture Green Monday is determined to address the most pressing issues of climate change, food insecurity, health and animal welfare, through green eating.
Bringing Flexitarianism From Hong Kong To S’pore
Green Monday was founded in 2012 by Hong Kong entrepreneur David Yeung to address sustainability.
It has seen the number of vegans and flexitarians (semi-vegetarians) in Hong Kong rise from 23 per cent in 2014 to 34 per cent in 2020, partly due to the company’s efforts to promote plant-based foods.
An independent survey showed that over 45 per cent of people in Hong Kong are cognisant of Green Monday’s causes.
The name “Green Monday” came from the idea of eating plant-based products occasionally, for those who are not ready to become full vegetarians or vegans.
It can be one day a week, or just generally making a more conscious– David Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday
decision to limit your overall meat consumption.
Since then, the company has pushed the once-a-week plant-based meal philosophy to over 30 countries.
The 44-year-old revealed that he has adopted a plant-based lifestyle 20 years ago.
“It was difficult in the beginning because the choices were so limited,” he confessed.
Expanding The Variety Of Plant-Based Options
Their breakthrough only came when they started to introduce tasty and nutritious products that not only catered to plant-based diets, but also appealed to the meat-eaters.
He launched the plant-based meat substitute OmniMeat by OmniFoods in 2018 to expand the variety of plant-based options out there.
The first OmniFoods product, OmniMeat Mince, was launched in April 2018.
OmniMeat is widely used by numerous internationally acclaimed restaurants serving specific OmniMeat menus, including Prive in Singapore, Tacobell in China, Bafang Yunji in Taiwan, Sizzler in Thailand and Four Seasons and JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong.
As a result of his efforts, David was awarded “2018 Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by the World Economic Forum and Schwab Foundation.
Subsequently, OmniMeat was recognised by PETA Asia and earned its parent company Green Monday Group the “Company of The Year 2019”.
With great potential, their recent venture round on September 22 saw it raising US$70 million from 10 investors, led by Swire Pacific and The Rise Fund.
Earlier in June, their venture arm, Green Monday Ventures raised US$3.2 million in seed funding from Turtletree Labs, which is known for using cell-based technology to manufacture ‘milk’.
The World’s First Plant-Based Luncheon Meat
David shares that he likes to indulge in comfort foods such as dumplings and dim sum, all of which are easily made meat-free using substitutes from the OmniMeat line.
However, over the years, there is one dish he always craved: luncheon meat.
This led him to launch the first-of-its-kind luncheon meat derived from plants.
The OmniMeat Luncheon bears a striking resemblance to traditional meat in both flavour and appearance.
OmniFoods, Green Monday’s foodtech company, has a food science team in Canada that spent two years of research to create it.
Our studies show that Asians have a great demand for traditional luncheon meat and eat it frequently. Our versatile, plant-based meat alternatives are a much kinder option for the planet, as well as for our health.– David Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday
Designed specifically for Asian tastes, it comprises of a proprietary blend of plant-based protein from pea, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushroom and rice for complete protein.
The non-GMO soybean and wheat are what gives it a firm yet tender meaty texture, whilst beetroot naturally colours the luncheon meat.
Free of cholesterol, no added hormones, antibiotics and MSG, the plant-based substitute is also rich in protein, dietary fibre, potassium and calcium.
Following the positive response they received through a launch with McDonald’s Hong Kong and Macau, they have since unveiled it in Singapore.
Green Monday Group has also partnered with Accor Group to bring new OmniMeat creations to menus at five hotels such as the iconic Raffles Hotel and Fairmont Hotel as well as local F&B group COLLIN’S.
COLLIN’S will be putting OmniMeat Luncheon dishes on the menu at its 11 restaurants across Singapore.
Alongside the luncheon meat invention, they also created OmniMeat Strips, which mimic the look and taste of pork strips.
They have since been stocked on the shelves of selected NTUC FairPrice supermarkets, and will subsequently be available in other major supermarkets and online grocers such as RedMart.
OmniFoods’ sales network has since spread to over 10 countries and regions.
Comparing this year to the last, our cumulative sales across all products have almost quadrupled, indicating greater consumer demand and acceptance of these new plant-based products.– David Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday
Covid-19 Stresses The Need To Switch To Plant-Based Meat
David shares that there has been a surge in demand for plant-based protein foods in Asia.
Due to Covid-19, our “collective awareness” of the global food industries and their impact on the environment skyrocketed, he explained.
With many meat packers from around the world forced to shut down because of outbreaks, the fragility of our current food system has also greatly exposed.
Adding to that, past outbreaks of H1N1 and H5N1 have bolstered the public’s understanding that zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans.– David Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday
Overall, we are becoming more educated on the risks and downsides to our current animal-dependent food system, and more aware of the benefits of alternative plant-based solutions.
As such, we could see a higher adoption of the plant-based lifestyle with the availability and accessibility of meat-free options in Asian and local diets.
Green Monday Leads Plant-Based Living In Asia
Green Monday Group will also open their renowned plant-based concept store and cafe Green Common in Shanghai and Singapore’s
Vivo City in late December this year and January 2021 respectively.
This is in a bid to encourage more diners to make sustainable food choices.
Green Common currently has nine locations in Hong Kong and two online platforms — an e-shop in Hong Kong and China’s Alibaba’s Tmall Global.
Green Common took the lead in introducing iconic brands to Asia — Beyond Burger, Beyond Sausage, Heura and Chick’n Nuggets by Alpha Foods all made their debut through Green Common.
We are also seeing a lot of international brands — such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Yum China — now introducing plant-based meat or vegan dairy on their menu.
These are all signs that Asia is catching up with the global adoption of plant-based living.– David Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday
Featured Image Credit: Green Monday