New spam attack: Retail sales soar 120% for OmniFoods as plant-based innovation gathers pace

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

OmniMeat Luncheon (right) and OmniMeat Strip (left) will be retailing in Hong Kong this July ©OmniFoods
OmniMeat Luncheon (right) and OmniMeat Strip (left) will be retailing in Hong Kong this July ©OmniFoods

Related tags: Omnifoods, Hong kong, plant based

Hong Kong plant-based manufacturer OmniFoods has seen retail grocery sales increase 120% between April 2019 to January 2020 as it pursues a twin strategy of increasing its presence in the supermarket aisles and foodservice outlets.

OmniFoods is known for its plant-based pork alternatives such as OmniPork, OmniEat Buns and OmniEat Dumplings. It also reported e-commerce sales of its plant-based products grew 3.5 times during the same period.

On the back of rising sales, the company will be retailing two new products, OmniMeat Luncheon and OmniMeat Strip in Hong Kong this July.

According to OmniFoods, the recent African Swine Flu had resulted in people becoming more conscious of the risks and problems associated with the meat and livestock industry. In addition, a growing population and animal protein dominated diets have put burden on the planet.

The company hopes its products can provide more environmentally friendly food options for consumers, at a time where climate change is aggravating.

The OmniMeat Luncheon is made from non-GMO soy, wheat, beet and coconut oil and is a healthier frozen version of canned pork luncheon meat.

A report by Global Info Research revealed that the global luncheon meat market reached USD3.1 billion in 2019. Approximately 1.1 billion cans were sold globally, of which 400 million cans were sold in Asia-Pacific alone. This was followed by North America and Europe.

Despite luncheon being the most popular processed meat in Asia, a survey conducted by independent market research company IPSOS reported that 60% of consumers expressed concern over the risk and health risks of consuming processed meat including its carcinogenicity and high sodium content.

OmniFoods' luncheon product contain zero cholesterol, is rich in protein, dietary fiber, potassium and calcium. Compared to traditional canned luncheon meat, OmniMeat luncheon is also 40%, 49% and 62% lower in calories, fat and sodium respectively. In addition, it does not contain any added hormones, antibiotics and MSG.

Founder of OmniFoods, David Yeung told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that the luncheon does not contain any carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, typically added to processed meat to inhibit microbial growth.

Ordinary luncheon meat products are kept under room temperature, so they need preservatives like nitrate or nitrite to inhibit microbial growth. However, our luncheon meat is stored frozen, the microbial growth is minimised using low temperature,

“Also, nitrate or nitrite are usually added as a preservative, and to give the luncheon meat a pink colour. We use beet to give our luncheon meat the signature colour.”

Yeung said the biggest challenge in its R&D was finding a formula for its fragrance, texture and nutrition. “There is a certain fragrance that is unique about luncheon meat. It evokes childhood memory for many people​.”

Alongside the launch of its OmniMeat Luncheon, the firm will also release its OmniMeat Strip, another commonly used ingredient in Asian cuisines.

Made from non-GMO soy, beet and sunflower oil, it is rich in protein at 18.6g per 100g, and contain zero cholesterol.

Compared with raw pork shoulder with separable lean and fat meat, OmniMeat Strip's calories and total fat content are 48% and 76% lower respectively.

The future is green

Yeung told us both products took two years to develop at its R&D base in Canada. While there are many plant-based and alternative meat companies in the West, Yeung said being based in Asia means it could develop local products for this region, differentiating itself from other companies.

Our Asian focus means our products are researched and developed keeping Asian food in mind such as dumplings, dim sum, and countless Asian culinary applications. Of course, these products can also be universally consumed​.”

The products will retail in July 2020 in its home market Hong Kong, before entering other Asian countries by early Q4.

OmniMeat is currently present in Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Canada.

Earlier this year​, we reported that OmniMeat had plans to enter Japan, which Yeung confirmed happened this month.

Thepandemic made the entry plan more complicated than anticipated, but we are also planning to enter South Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam within this year.”

Yeung said the plant-based industry was still at a nascent stage, although he was hopeful for the future, “From plant protein to supplant animal protein, there is huge room for growth and room for multiple brands and products​.”

OmniFoods is a subsidiary of social venture group, Green Monday. Yeung is also founder and CEO of Green Monday.

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