Just over a year after launching its groundbreaking vegan “spam” analogue OmniPork Luncheon, Green Monday is expanding its OmniFoods range with a brand new line of plant-based seafood alternatives. Announced today (June 8) on World Oceans Day during an invite-only global media press conference, the new OmniSeafood range marks the Hong Kong-based food tech’s first foray into the alternative seafood category, entering the market amid growing public awareness over the detrimental impact of the fishing industry.
Green Monday’s food tech arm OmniFoods has debuted its new line-up of plant-based seafood alternatives, representing the first time the brand has launched a non-pork analogue. The new OmniSeafood line includes 6 products in total – a classic fillet, golden fish fillet, ocean burger, “OmniSalmon” and ambient shelf-stable “OmniTuna” and crab cakes – and will be primarily made from soy, pea and rice protein, bearing similar ingredient list to its OmniPork range. The classic fillet marks the world’s first non-breaded plant-based fish fillet.
The new high-protein, cholesterol and Omega-3-rich vegan seafood alternatives ditches the plethora of negative impacts associated with commercial fishing, from the industry’s carbon emissions to plundering ocean fish stocks, role in plastic pollution and its litany of human rights abuses. Protein content will vary between products, with the crab cake boasting 20 grams per serving, while the ocean burger contains 8 grams.
It comes three years after OmniFoods launched its flagship vegan pork mince OmniPork, and expanded with OmniPork Luncheon and OmniPork Strip last year. OmniFoods also offers a line of OmniEat ready meals, which are now available in more than 700 7-Eleven stores in Hong Kong, following its headline-making city-wide partnership with the “holy grail” of fast food giants, McDonald’s.
Since we developed OmniPork three years ago, I was always asked when we would develop plant-based seafood.David Yeung, Founder & CEO, Green Monday
During a press conference today announcing the launch of OmniSeafood attended by Green Queen Media, Green Monday founder and CEO, David Yeung told the audience in Cantonese: “Since we developed OmniPork three years ago, I was always asked when we would develop plant-based seafood. Today, we’ve done it with OmniSeafood”.
The new OmniSeafood range will first be rolling out in Hong Kong, available to diners at Kind Kitchen and a number of restaurant partners, before landing in retail around August or September. The brand plans to begin entering international markets afterwards, with mainland China, Southeast Asia, Australia and the U.K. as the first targets for the coming months – a timely launch to tap into the fast-growing alternative seafood category, as mass consumers, sparked by the much-talked-about Seaspiracy documentary, begin to wake up to the enormous toll of conventional fish. Green Monday is also clear that the U.S. is on the cards for its plant-based seafood expansion.
Globally, the percentage of overexploited fish stocks has more than doubled since the 1980s. Demand continues to grow at unprecedented levels and is projected to increase 21% by 2025, and crucially, Asia is expected to account for nearly three-quarters of the growth – making Hong Kong-based Green Monday’s OmniSeafood debut an especially regionally relevant solution to building a more sustainable protein supply chain.
If we care about the oceans, we must stop fishing. We’re talking about extinction of fish in a matter of decades.David Yeung, Founder & CEO, Green Monday
“Our oceans are not infinite. Sustainable seafood isn’t sustainable. If we care about the oceans, we must stop fishing. We’re talking about extinction of fish in a matter of decades,” said Yeung, as translated from Cantonese. “As an Asian company, we started out tackling pork because it’s the most consumed and beloved animal protein in the region. The next logical step is seafood, given that 73% of the demand for seafood will come from Asia. In Hong Kong, the average consumption of seafood is over three-fold that of the U.S.”
Offering more choice in the plant-based seafood space will also be key to convince the growing numbers of consumers increasingly displacing red meat with fish, and it’s a market that even food giants like Nestlé and shrimp behemoth Thai Union have set their sights on in recent months.
While the U.S. has seen the emergence of a number of vegan seafood startups like Good Catch, New Wave Foods and the Plant-Based Seafood Co., and Europe boasts players like Hooked, there has until now yet to be a leading food tech in Asia tapping into the enormous opportunity to be made in the alternative seafood space – though players like Singapore’s Shiok Meats and Hong Kong-based Avant Meats are developing cell-cultured products.
The latest news follows a series of expansion announcements from the Green Monday group – fuelled by its record-breaking US$70 million funding round in September – who have been continually doubling down with partnerships and store openings in Hong Kong and Asia, as well as ramping up its global presence with its point-of-sales now reaching 40,000 across 20 countries.
Green Monday shared that it has raised more than US$100 million to date, with backers including celebrities like James Cameron, Wang Leehom, Mary McCartney and Susan Rockefeller.
We will strive to be as competitive as possible. We’ve already reduced prices of OmniPork and we aim to be competitive with our OmniSeafood line too.David Yeung, Founder & CEO, Green Monday
Green Monday’s OmniFoods recently entered the U.S. market, after launching in the U.K., Japan, Australia, and opened physical outlets of their grocery concept Green Common in both Shanghai and Singapore. The company will take a localised approach to rolling out OmniSeafood in foodservice, launching Sichuan-style fish stew for Asian markets, for instance, and veganised fish and chips for the British market.
In Hong Kong, an OmniSeafood partnership with convenience chain 7-Eleven is likely on the cards, with the 7-Eleven Hong Kong & Macau managing director Alex Liu telling the audience at the press conference in Cantonese: “Our recent launch of OmniFoods ready meals at our stores in Hong Kong has been a great success. With the new plant-based seafood range, we look forward to more collaborations to come to make green choices more widely available and accessible to Hong Kong residents.”
OmniFoods’ latest milestone has been to lower prices by double-digits to reach price parity with pork in Hong Kong, and when asked by reporters about how competitive its new vegan seafood line will be with traditional fish, Yeung said: “We will strive to be as competitive as possible. We’ve already reduced prices of OmniPork and we aim to be competitive with our OmniSeafood line too. We won’t be far off from existing fish fillets on the market right now in terms of price”.
All images courtesy of Green Monday.