Vegan Spam Returns To McDonald’s, This Time With Less Salt

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McDonald’s is serving OmniPork Luncheon meat, affectionately called ‘vegan Spam’, in its Hong Kong restaurants again. First introduced in late 2020, as part of the breakfast menu, it was rolled out through 280 locations, plus additional McCafés. Limited mainland China restaurants trialled the dish, representing the first time McDonald’s added plant-based options to its Chinese menu.

The original vegan Spam and egg sandwich dish racked up 3.7 million sales. Now, using improved OmniPork Luncheon meat, four breakfast items have been unveiled. Alongside, McDonald’s is doubling down on its relationship with OmniFoods, by using its plant-based fish in multiple McCafé menu items. 

McDonald’s Jumo Breakfast featuring OmniPork Luncheon meat. Photo by McDonald’s.

OmniPork gives Asia the vegan SPAM it needs

Asia loves Spam. A potent mix of the pork that the region enjoys in vast quantities and American popular culture, it comes with a heritage that makes it feel nostalgic to diners. Cost-effective, easy to cook with and adept at taking on local flavours, it is widely used throughout the APAC region. Market research suggests that Asia accounts for 39 percent of luncheon meat sales globally. However, as a processed meat with high sodium levels, it is concerning both environmentally and health-wise.

OmniPork’s vegan spam was launched to tap into Asia’s craving for slabs of pork luncheon meat, without the associated downsides. Launched in 2020, it is made using soybeans, wheat and beets. Coconut oil and sodium are included, but a new formulation has dialled these back. The return of vegan Spam to the McDonald’s menu, due to demand, demonstrates a shift in consumer protein attitudes.

McDonald’s’ diners can choose from Deluxe Breakfasts, Jumbo Breakfasts, McMuffins and burgers, all packed with Omnipork Luncheon meat. Menu items were announced on Earth Day. This was a fitting nod to Omnifoods’ founder David Yeung’s Green Monday Group, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on the same day.

“Combating climate change and promoting a sustainable diet is a marathon. Today, the climate change crisis is more pressing than ever, not to mention the loss and disruption caused by the still ongoing pandemic,” Yeung said in a statement. “The clock is seriously ticking. Looking ahead, with the support from internal and external stakeholders, Green Monday will strive to dedicate our best innovation and efforts to contribute to a carbon net-zero future.” 

Photo by Hoi Hoi Pancake House.

Green Monday leads climate-friendly menu overhauls in Hong Kong

Started as a social movement on Earth Day 2012, Green Monday has grown into a multifaceted venture platform. It offers companies, institutions and the public resources that allow for carbon footprint reductions and greater eco-awareness. 

10 years ago the Hong Kong landscape was very different, with vegetarian and vegan dining far less accessible than it is now. Green Monday spearheaded a movement to bring both to the front of consumer minds. Now, it has launched its #WeCareWeDare campaign to fast-track Hong Kong to Net Zero targets.

More than 400 restaurants and retailers have signed up to take part in the initiative. Each will be creating new menus and participating in promotions that support the message of ‘diet change, not climate change’. French bistro Ôdelice, vegan Hemingway’s By The Ways and Hoi Hoi Pancake House are amongst the confirmed restaurants. Market Place by Jasons and SOGO FreshMart are on board to promote healthier eating through discounts and benefits for shoppers.

“When Green Monday was launched on Earth Day 10 years ago, it was an initiative taken by a group of passionate people who shared the same belief to make change happen, to take urgent action that combats climate change and various global crises. Since then, Green Common and OmniFoods were born,” Yeung explained in a statement. “Throughout the ensuing 10 years, both the Green Monday movement and Omni products have now expanded to over 20 markets. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all companies, corporate partners, influential leaders for your support. This impact cannot possibly happen without our collaboration and shared mission.”

Photo by Plant Sifu.

Brands are encouraging Hong Kong to move to vegan pork

Alongside OmniFoods, Good Food Technologies is looking to help consumers make the switch to plant-based pork. It has just launched Plant Sifu, its first consumer-facing brand that showcases pork analogues and dumplings. The brand defines itself by its proprietary fat technology, Aromax, which creates a juicy soy-based meat alternative suitable for various culinary applications.

Lead hoto by McDonald’s.

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