David Yeung is the founder of Green Monday, a Hong Kong-based group that engages in eco-focused social movements like the eponymously named Green Monday (to encourage meat-free meals), as well as forward-looking ventures like Omnipork meat substitute products in the foodtech space.
Since founding Green Monday in 2012, Yeung has proven to be a trailblazer and one of the city’s foremost leaders in putting the spotlight on sustainability. Today, the brand is not only well known in Hong Kong, but can also be found in more than 30 countries across the globe. Here are his thoughts on green eating in the SAR.
How do you think Hong Kong is doing in general when it comes to its food “green-ness”?
The awareness and availability of plant-based [alternatives] have skyrocketed the last few years. We are seeing that 34 percent of Hongkongers are becoming flexitarians. So the progress is very encouraging.
What are some things our city/govt can do to promote a more green city?
Transportation. Energy. Recycling. Food waste. It is a long list that our city can and should improve upon.
What are your thoughts on the Buddhist vegetarian substitute meat products that are popular in Hong Kong? How might these products be different from the new range of products like Omnipork, Impossible and Beyond?
Traditionally, meat substitutes have catered more to the vegetarians and vegans, but these products may not fulfill the standard of meat eaters. The new plant-based meats are designed to go head-to-head against actual real meat, and they are meant to appeal to all mainstream consumers.
I am very hopeful [that we can convert pork-loving Hongkongers to meat substitutes like Omnipork]. Once people can see the health and environmental benefits, and realize that they don’t have to sacrifice from the standpoint of their palates, the transition becomes not so difficult.
That said, the real barriers are social stigma and embedded dietary habits. That’s why we advocate Green Monday — so that people don’t have to go full vegan until they feel comfortable. Even one day per week is an excellent start.
With so much more attention and resources devoted to [the foodtech] space, I thoroughly believe the pace of innovations will only accelerate.
How did you get the idea to create Omnipork? How did you manage to get the product to look, feel, and taste so much like the real thing? How does it compare, nutrition-wise, to real pork?
I got the idea specifically for OmniPork since pork is the most consumed meat in Asia. This is unlike the US, where beef and chicken have higher consumption.
OmniPork is rich in protein, high in calcium and iron, while much lower in fat and calories and is completely cholesterol-free, with no hormones or GMOs. So nutritionally, it is superior to pork as we lower the undesirable elements but enrich the desirable elements.
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