Luncheon meat will never be the same again as the world’s first vegan luncheon meat, Omnipork Luncheon, was launched in Hong Kong by food tech company OmniFoods, the same label behind plant-based pork alternative OmniPork.
Founder David Yeung, who is also the co-founder of Hong Kong-based social organization Green Monday, developed the product from wheat and soybeans for less sodium and nitrate- and cruelty-free consumer options. The non-GMO, plant-based version also contains 0 mg of cholesterol, protein, dietary fiber, potassium, and calcium that addresses the concerns of many Asian consumers.
Aside from containing twice the daily recommended salt intake, animal-based luncheon meat contains over 1,000 calories and almost 100 grams of fat. According to the World Health Organization, processed meat such as Spam is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, which falls in the same cluster as tobacco and asbestos. Omnipork Luncheon has 49 percent less fat, 40 percent less calorie, and no carcinogenic nitrates compared with traditional luncheon meats.
According to its official release, a survey conducted by independent market research company IPSOS and commissioned by OmniFoods found that Asians have a great demand for luncheon meat. Eighty eight percent of people in China eat luncheon meat at least once a month, followed by those in South Korea (78 percent) and Hong Kong (69 percent). But up to 70 percent of consumers surveyed expressed concern over the health risks of consuming processed meat.
“Luncheon meat is a food that everyone in Asia has a love-hate relationship with. Eating is not only about filling up our stomachs and absorbing the daily nutrition we need; it’s also about satisfying our cravings,” says Yeung. “Even though I have been following a plant-based diet for almost 20 years now, I still miss the taste of luncheon meat and egg noodles occasionally.”
Omnipork Luncheon isn’t the only plant-based, protein-rich product OmniFoods has released in pursuit of meat substitutes. Vegan pork shoulder Omnipork Strip has 48 percent less calories, 76 percent less fat, and low saturated fat than pork shoulder. Omnipork Luncheon and Omnipork Strip will be available in Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants Ming Court in Hong Kong and in Green Monday’s vegan eatery Kind Kitchen by July. Retail packs of both products will be available in the same period as well.