Peanut Meat Brand Haofood Unveils Vegan Pork Mince Soup Dumplings
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Shanghai food tech brand Haofood, known for its plant-based chicken made from peanuts, has launched soup dumplings filled with peanut-based pork mince. The first plant-based meat brand to use peanut protein as the base ingredient, this marks the company’s second type of vegan meat.
Xiaolongbaos (or soup dumplings) traditionally contain a minced pork filling, but Haofood’s vegan version swaps them for a peanut-based alternative that mimics the original’s taste and texture. The soup itself is a black truffle flavour, and the dumplings are packed with protein and dietary fibre, and free of trans fats.
Launched in 2020, Haofood co-founder Astrid Prajogo exhibited the peanut mince dumplings at the Berlin headquarters of ProVeg Incubator – the brand had participated in the 12-week accelerator programme in 2020. The new product comes on the heels of a report that puts China at the top of the list of countries with the greatest market potential for alt-meat.
Haofood’s peanut-powered journey
“We started with the aspiration of helping foodies reduce their meat consumption without losing the pleasure of eating the familiar dishes that they love,” Prajogo told ProVeg in 2020. “That’s why we are developing a plant-based chicken that is specifically designed to be cooked as Asian fried chicken.”
Now, the brand has three products in its portfolio: vegan pulled chicken in naked, black pepper and Xinjiang-spiced flavours; crispy chicken patties in original and spicy variants; and a plant-based chicken chop.
In 2021, Haofood partnered with five Shanghai restaurants to add its peanut-based chicken to their menu offerings, like mini-burgers, wraps and bowls. It also struck a distribution deal with Chinese convenience store giant Lawson last year to stock its plant-based chicken in 2,300 retail stores nationwide. This came a month after it announced a $3.5M seed funding round, which included the likes of ProVeg, Monde Nissin CEO Henry Soesanto, and Big Idea Ventures, among others.
Plant-based dumplings on the rise
Haofood’s latest offering joins a host of other companies in the budding vegan dumpling category in Asia. While its xiaolongbaos are the first of their kind to launch to market, brands like OmniPork and Plant Sifu (both Hong Kong-based brands) have debuted various ready-to-eat dumpling ranges in recent years in retail and in foodservice. Omni famously partnered with Wanchai Ferry, Hong Kong’s dumpling-famous frozen meal brand, on two OmniPork-filled SKUs in 2020.
Plant Sifu, meanwhile, uses a proprietary fat technology to create a juicy and fragrant pork alternative ideal for dumpling fillings. The brand claims its product is cholesterol- and MSG-free, and contains less salt and fewer calories than conventional pork.
Vegan dumplings are equally popular around the world including the US: seaweed startup Triton Algae Foods has teamed up with Too Good to Be Foods to launch vegan pork dumplings and San Francisco brand Sobo Foods has soft-launched its plant-based dumplings at select retailers in the Bay area.