Sales of vegan pork have tripled in Hong Kong following an outbreak of Asian swine flu that began last month. David Yeung, founder of OmniPork, Hong Kong-based campaign Green Monday, and Green Common, its flagship vegan market, says that he expects sales to continue to rise in the coming months.
Swine flu began affecting hog farms in the Guangdong province on December 26, leading to a 15 to 20 percent increase in pork prices, according to Yeung. OmniPork, which is made from soy, mushroom, and rice protein, launched in Green Common last November, but the outbreak sparked interest among other retailers.
“Major supermarket channels such as ParknShop, City’super, Sogo, Yata now carry Omnipork,” says Yeung. “Omnipork retail pack started selling in Macau roughly 10 days ago and will be available in Singapore within a month.”
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In China, pork consumption outnumbers beef seven to one. Two seven-floor “hog hotels” have been opened in order to meet the demand and the company behind the multi-story breeding facility aims to open a 13-story farm. The nation raises around 700 million pigs for meat each year, which produces 1.29 billion metric tons of livestock waste that pollutes air and water.
Vegan Pork Demand
An increasing number of chefs are also interested in serving OmniPork in regional dishes such as hot pot and dim sum. Yeung also predicts that there will be increased interest in the vegan meat next month due to the approaching holiday. “Chinese New Year is coming up on Feb 5th, and next year happens to be the Year of the Pig,” he says.
Reports of the swine flu outbreak were reported by the South China Morning Post last August. The virus can survive in cured pork for more than a year. While not deadly to humans, the outbreak on August 1 resulted in the deaths of 40,000 hogs, and with no vaccine, experts predict that the virus could potentially spread to other nations, including the U.S.
“What we’re seeing so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organiation after a three-day meeting in on the matter in Bangkok.