Omnipork: Disrupting China’s pork industry

1 May 2018, at 12:00am

With promising outlooks for human health and the environment, could the new pork alternative disrupt the largest pork market on the planet?

As the planet’s most prolific consumer of pork, estimated to consume around 56 million tonnes of pork meat in 2018 (USDA), China is a valuable trader for pig meat producers worldwide. However, health experts, environmentalists and ethical bodies are now taking steps to reduce the country’s dependence on the beloved meat due to concerns over human, animal and environmental health.

China’s government issued dietary guidelines in 2016 that encouraged the public to eat less meat, with the aim of cutting the meat consumption of the entire population in half. The implications of this dietary meat restriction are predicted to be dramatic - reducing greenhouse gas emission by 1bn tonnes by 2030, and cutting the proportion of the population with obesity and diabetes.

With the grand emergence of plant-based and cultured meat alternatives in recent years – Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, for example – one entrepreneur is looking to further disrupt the market by introducing his ‘meatless’ pork products to China.

Made from a blend of pea-protein, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushrooms and rice, Omnipork is the first plant-based pork replacement and is now being introduced to the Chinese market by David Yeung, the founder of Green Common, a vegetarian grocery store and dining chain in Hong Kong. Yeung believes that his Omnipork, a product of his other startup Right Treat, will go a long way to allowing consumers to enjoy traditional pork-based dishes whilst drastically reducing the large-scale environmental impact of pig farming.

Omnipork is currently waiting for approval from Chinese regulators.

Photo: Sharona Gott

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