“The pandemic has been the unexpected catalyst in terms of shifting people away from meat and dairy," says Green Common CEO, David Yeung

“The pandemic has been the unexpected catalyst in terms of shifting people away from meat and dairy," says Green Common CEO, David Yeung
Source: Green Common

It’s widely known and indisputable that Hong Kong is a global food paradise. From Indian to Thai to Korean food, here, you can find pretty much any cuisine. Hong Kong is also a city that can cater to very specific dietary requirements, from halal food options to vegetarian and vegan restaurants, you can find it all. However, while food in general remains a constant popular topic, an innovative kind of food product has been quietly yet effectively rising in popularity around the city – Green Monday’s OmniFoods.

Green Monday, the parent company of Green Common, launched OmniFoods in April of 2018, making plant-based meat from land and sea more accessible across Asia. This venture of sustainable food in Hong Kong swept the city by storm as the company quickly opened 14 restaurants and stores across Hong Kong as well as two outside the city. OmniFoods’ OmniPork is also supplied to different eateries in Hong Kong.

According to David Yeung, chief executive officer of Green Common, the astonishing growth of plant-based food industries in Asia can be attributed to the increased awareness of the people about environmental issues like climate change and food insecurity, and learning that the consumption of plant-based food can help address these issues. And, with more people being conscious of their food choices, the demand for clean and healthy food has increased, prompting the food tech industry to work on releasing this new diet, plant-based food.

As Yeung explains, Green Common’s mission is to “make change happen, make green common.” The company aims to continue raising public awareness toward the nerve-wracking food security issues around the globe and encourage a more conscious food consumption among people while making the consumption of green food more common.

With this mission, Green Monday Group launched the Green Monday Movement in 2012 hoping to provide a platform for individuals and institutions to contribute to health and sustainability. Green Monday is a new venture which aspires to slowly shift the public toward a sustainable lifestyle. This has been done by implementing various initiatives, such as encouraging the public to adopt a plant-based diet for at least one day per week (hence Monday), in order to combat grave issues such as climate change, public health crisis and animal suffering.

For Green Monday, the idea of slowly integrating a plant-based diet into the lives of the public is an effective way to change future eating habits, imparting crucial knowledge to the new generation and allowing them to make informed future decisions.

Perks of switching to a plant-based diet

Plant-based diets come with a myriad of health benefits as well as being beneficial to the environment. The perks of this diet are beyond weight loss, essentially when you’re consuming more plant-based food with no overdosed antibiotics as the normal food includes, it can help with various aspects such as keeping your cholesterol levels in check, maintaining heart health, and preventing diabetes. Some studies have also shown that plant-based diets can boost longevity.

“Our very own OmniPork is a non-GMO, much lower in fats and sodium than animal pork, which is better for the human body, especially for high-risk groups such as people with high cholesterol,” Yeung adds, pointing to OmniPork and a plant-based diet in general, as the both healthier and a more sustainable option.

With the widespread pandemic, Green Common was also affected in the aspects of logistics and faced with higher logistics costs. Nevertheless, Yeung looks at the pandemic as an awakening opportunity. “The pandemic has been the unexpected catalyst in terms of shifting people away from meat and dairy as they now start to realize the fragility and riskiness of the animal food supply chain,’ says Yeung.

“Our company is all about building a sustainable food system and moving the world to be less dependent on animals and meat and I believe we can move the world to a place that is less prone and susceptible to this kind of outbreaks.”

What’s next for OmniFoods?

Green Monday’s OmniFoods is taking its big steps toward going international as it has just started entering the United States and the United Kingdom market. Restaurants in Southern California and London have already added OmniPork dishes to their menus and soon the retail product will be launched too.

“We are currently in 20+ markets with the target to reach 40,000 sale points around the globe by end of year around the globe, and with the launch of our new OmniSeafood line, we are looking to enter those markets [in China] with our existing network,” Yeung explains as he hopes to tap further into the Chinese market where pork consumption is higher, comprising of 65% of the meat consumed.

The OmniSeafood line made its debut June of this year, introducing Omni Classic Fillet, Omni Golden Fillet, Omni Ocean Burger, OmniTuna and a soon-to-be-launched OmniSalmon. As Yeung put it, “We cannot tackle climate change without taking care of the ocean. Overfishing and bottom trawling are the most destructive actions that devastate our marine ecosystems … This breakthrough guarantees not only to wow our taste buds, but also to awaken our consciousness towards the ocean and the planet. With today’s milestone launch of OmniSeafood, we believe it is a big leap forward to a real sea change.”

The OmniSeafood series is expected to hit Hong Kong’s retail stores this September.