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Convenience store giant 7-Eleven has announced the launch of a new plant-based sandwich featuring Unlimeat, South Korean’s answer to vegan sukiyaki style beef, which taps into local taste preferences with a barbecue marinade. The sandwich will join a limited range of vegan-friendly options that encourage grab-and-go plant-based eating in Hong Kong.
7-Eleven expands vegan range
The addition of a marinaded barbecue plant-based beef sandwich to Hong Kong 7-Eleven shows the convenience giant is looking to increase its offerings for busy meat-free consumers.
Earlier this year, the chain collaborated with Green Monday to launch a range of ready-meals including dumplings and rice-based dishes as well snacks and drinks suitable for vegans.
In 2020, 7-Eleven Australia debuted two new sandwiches, a no-beef pie, and a no-sausage roll, all aimed at consumers seeking vegan options. Priced similarly to conventional snacks, the 700 plus participating stores aimed to make flexitarianism as easy as possible.
In Singapore, the Impossible Burger was launched in all of its 300 stores in response to consumer demand. In September, 7-Eleven Singapore announcing an expansion of the range, hinting at encouraging sales data.
Convenience meets progress
The partnership with Unlimeat allows 7-Eleven to tap into the brand’s burgeoning popularity, particularly throughout China. Manufactured by Zikooin in South Korea, Unlimeat makes plant-based meats using upcycled grains that would otherwise be discarded. Products are cited as being an answer to food waste and climate change, while appealing to the increasing flexitarian market.
With growth on the cards, Zikooin has just announced that it has secured funding to build one of the largest plant-based meat factories in Asia. Raising $23 million, the company has released a rendering of what it intends to be a state-of-the-art production facility in Jecheon City. Product lines to be manufactured include Unlimeat, plant-based patties, meatballs and a recently debuted vegan cheddar. Full operation is planned for mid-2022.
7-Eleven is not the only company to cotton on to the potential that Unlimeat has to offer. Vegan convenience chain Green HOTSHOT will be using its range of products in a noodle dish set to be released soon in three locations across Hong Kong.
Global demand for Asian alt-meat products
Zikooin has begun exporting its range of plant-based meats. Current export markets include the U.S., Vietnam, Australia, and mainland China, thanks to a demand for more localized products, beyond just burgers and mince meat.
Other Asian vegan meat brands are finding success beyond their home shores. Hong Kong-based OmniFoods has enjoyed enormous success. Asia’s most popular vegan meat brand, it is sold throughout the world, including in the U.S., the UK, and the UAE, as well as Taiwan, Malaysia and mainland China via direct-to-customer and foodservice channels, depending on the markte.
Singapore’s vegan chicken TiNDLE launched just over six months ago and is already in 7 markets including Macau, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and the U.S. Having launched in Amsterdam last month, the Next Gen product is eyeing European expansion for 2022.
Lead image courtesy of 7-Eleven.