A new vegan pork is coming to the UK. Called OmniPork, the plant-based meat is available in nine restaurants across the country as part of a soft launch.
OmniPork is vegan ground pork made from a proprietary blend of pea protein, soy, shiitake mushrooms, and rice. It was developed by OmniFoods, a food technology company. With an R&D lab based in Canada, the company focuses on catering to Asian cuisine and culinary practices.
The new menu items available in restaurants across the UK reflect this. Chefs have partnered with OmniPork to develop menu items such as handmade siu mai dumplings from Kay Kay Foods, Vietnamese noodle salad and bibimbap at Shoreditch’s Eat Chay, and mapo tofu at home delivery service Alta Foods.
Some restaurants have put a western spin on their dishes. Norwich-based restaurant Erpingham House created a vegan crispy Scotch egg. At Plant Hustler, customers can order a burger featuring an OmniPork patty with a Korean BBQ marinade and sesame mayo. Hackney’s Black Cat Cafe is offering OmniPork empanadas.
Although the menu items are only available for a limited time, OmniFoods says the soft launch is ahead of a larger UK retail and restaurant roll-out later this year. A representative told LIVEKINDLY that OmniPork will launch at Asian grocery retailer Longdan’s ecommerce platform and brick-and-mortar stores in February.
Leading the Dietary Shift in East Asia
Hong Kong-based social venture Green Monday launched OmniFoods in 2018. Its additional products include OmniPork Luncheon, a vegan version of Spam, and OmniPork Strip, a vegan pork strip. It also makes products such as steamed buns and ready-to-eat meals.
Similar to the Meat-free Mondays campaign, Green Monday promotes having at least one plant-based day a week for the good of the environment. It has since expanded to more than 100 countries.
In addition to launching OmniFoods, Green Monday opened its first retail store, Green Common, in Hong Kong in 2015. The store integrates retail and in-house dining, all of which are plant-based.
The tenth retail store and first brick-and-mortar in mainland China opened in Shanghai in the city’s Changning district late last year. This marks the first time that consumers in mainland China can purchase OmniFoods products in person. The company first launched to Tmall.com, a Chinese online consumer retail platform in summer 2020.
OmniFoods’ steady growth is a testament to the rising demand for plant-based food in China, where companies, both foreign and domestic, are aiming to capture the market. Its expansion into the UK is indicative of the tremendous growth of the plant-based food market there. According to global market research firm Mintel, the number of Brits who eat meat-free foods increased from 50 percent in 2017 to 65 percent in 2019. Additional data shows that COVID-19 has made a plant-based diet more appealing to a quarter of British Millenials.