Shortly after Green Monday made headlines with its groundbreaking new Omnipork Luncheon Meat product, the world’s first vegan “spam” will be made available to consumers in the Philippines in the coming months. Spam is considered a staple across many Asian cuisines, and the Philippines goes through over a million kilograms of the processed ham a year. For the vegan version to land on shelves is testament that the plant-based movement is reaching new highs.
In mid-May, just a week after Hong Kong’s most well-known dumpling brand Wanchai Ferry rolled out plant-based Omnipork dumplings at price parity with conventional meat, the plant-based group Green Monday unveiled Omnipork Luncheon Meat under its newly rebranded food tech arm OmniFoods.
Until then, there had yet to be a 100% vegan replica of the canned processed pork meat, widely known as the Hormel-owned brand name Spam. With over 400 million units sold annually across Asia, it is safe to say that the ubiquitous processed pork is one of the most popular meat products across the region. In the Philippines alone, an estimated 1.25 million kilograms of the canned meat is eaten every single year.
But in recent years due to growing health concerns and scientific evidence of an association with increased risk of cancer, more and more consumers have become unsettled with the impact of consuming the beloved luncheon meat. Not to mention, animal agriculture itself has become a topic of concern amongst environmentally aware folk, with many pointing to the enormous greenhouse gas emissions associated with the meat industry.
Now, consumers in Philippines, who often eat the canned pork meat in a garlic fried rice dish called sinangag, can continue to enjoy the famous dish with OmniFoods’ cholesterol-free, carcinogen-free, low-carbon and animal-free alternative. It will be imported by Manila-based Prime Pacific Foods alongside OmniFoods’ other new product, Omnipork Strip.
While an official date has yet to be announced, Prime Pacific Foods hopes to have the vegan “spam” analogues available by the third-quarter of this year. In the meantime, consumers in the Philippines can order Omnipork’s original pork mince substitute on Prime Pacific Foods’ website.
The original Omnipork product is made from a proprietary blend of pea, soy and rice protein and shiitake mushrooms. It looks, cooks and tastes almost identical to conventional ground pork, but comes at a fraction of the environmental footprint and with zero cholesterol. The product has been opted by Michelin chefs, home cooks and major FMCG giants, notably Bafang Yunji and Starbucks.
The latest news of Omnipork Luncheon Meat landing in the Philippines is a sign of mass consumer changes in the country and across Asia. While the demand for plant-based food has steadily risen over the recent years, coronavirus-induced meat supply breakdown and the wave of livestock diseases such as African swine fever and Div1 shrimp virus have significantly elevated food safety, sustainability and health concerns.
Lead image courtesy of Green Monday / Getty Images / designed by Green Queen Media.