The firm is led by David Yeung, the founder of Green Monday, a social enterprise group that promotes green, healthy and sustainable living, and Green Common, a vegetarian store chain.
Previously, Green Monday and Green Common had helped to introduce plant-based innovations such as the Beyond Burger and Just Scramble to the island.
Using a play on words of the new brand, Yeung said: “The Omnipork is our treat to the world, one that is right for ourselves, for the planet and for all living beings.”
“The philosophy behind Right Treat is that we believe achieving long-term win-win-win among the planet, mankind and animals is possible. There should be no trade-off between food enjoyment and personal well-being.”
Omnipork comprises a proprietary blend of pea protein, soy, shiitake mushroom and rice.
The product is around 70% lower in saturated fat, 200% higher in calcium, and 50% higher in iron than pork.
Omnipork will be introduced to consumers through select restaurants in Hong Kong this summer, being featured in several pork dishes, and will be available in Green Common stores by the end of the year.
The need to disrupt meat
Right Treat was established with the mission to innovate food that will “treat the planet right, treat animals right and treat ourselves (human beings) right”. They called their first product a “game-changer” for Asia and the world.
Aside from the livestock industry contributing more to the carbon footprint than all transportation combined, it contributes to deforestation, is one of the main sources of pollution, and is inefficient in food production in terms of land and water use.
An estimated 1.29b metric tonnes of waste is produced by the Chinese pork industry alone per year.
The problem of growing meat consumption in China is so large that by mid-2016, the National Health and Family Planning Council updated the country’s dietary guidelines and urged its population to cut its meat and egg consumption by nearly half by 2030.
“Consumption and enjoyment of this generation should not become liability and suffering of future generations and other beings,” said Yeung.
According to the company, pork is the most consumed meat in the world, with almost 40% share of global meat consumption in 2016.
Furthermore, in Asia, especially China, pork is by far the most consumed meat — 65% of meat consumed in China is pork.
Yeung, therefore, wanted to come up with a product with the flavour and consistency of pork and the same culinary applications (especially in Chinese cuisine), yet without the same environmental, ethical and health impact.
No hard sell
Cantopop star Kay Tse, who was unveiled as Green Monday’s new Chief Kindness Officer, endorsed the new vegan product at the launch event.
“I’m still not 100% vegan but for a lot of reasons, in recent years, there has been a growing desire (for me) to move towards a ‘pure’ direction,” said Tse.
While she is said to be one of Right Treat’s investors, she said her decision to support the project was “a matter of the heart” and out of “support for the ecology” that she believes in.
Recently, Impossible Foods debuted its Impossible Burger in Hong Kong restaurants, while JUST CEO Josh Tetrick had revealed to FoodNavigator-Asia that the company plans to open a manufacturing facility in Asia.
Dao Foods International, a new food firm backed by impact investors, had also been set up to introduce plant-based protein and clean meat alternatives to the China market.