David Yeung has eaten more plant-based meat than the the majority of us, most of it bad.
The founder and CEO of Green Monday Group puts his tastebuds to the wringer “hundreds” of time whenever his plant-based meat brand Omni Foods develops a new product.
“You don’t want to participate in those (trials),” he said. “People always say, ‘Oh, tasting food, such a good job.’ Well, you taste a lot of bad food, and there are plenty of afternoons that I’m like, ‘Oh, what did I eat!’ ”
But his efforts have paid off. Omni Golden Fillet, a vegan fish fillet and one of the brand’s latest products, was recently given a Silver Quality Award by the Brussels-based food quality judge Monde Selection. Their Omni Meat Luncheon also received the Great Taste Award last year, a lauded British recognition for artisan food products.
Yeung started Green Monday Group a decade ago, and the Hong Kong-based company has grown substantially. They push a once-a-week plant-based diet through their Green Monday Foundation arm. Green Common is their vegan restaurant and retail store. Under Omni Foods, the brand makes plant-based meat for sale in countries like Singapore, China, the US, UK, and Australia.
In Singapore, demand for plant-based protein is rapidly growing. According to a 2021 report by vegan product review app Abillion and Enterprise Singapore, interest in conscious consumption doubled in 2020. Flexitarians also represent one of the fastest growing segments. Popular items include pork, chicken and seafood in minced and strip forms.
These trends are already benefitting localised brands like Omni Foods. Their Omni Luncheon and Omni Strip are some of the the best sellers. Shopee, Lazada’s Red Mart and selected NTUC Fair Price supermarkets now sell their products. The brand also develops ready-to-eat dishes targeted at different markets.
“Consumers are looking for something that they can use on an ongoing basis,” Yeung said. “Trying it the first time is one thing. After that, it’s about making it a regular consumption. Of course they want good quality, affordable and tasty products. At the same time, they want products that allow them to use their creativity.”
More restaurants in Singapore are also offering plant-based dishes made from Omni Foods. For Earth Month, Chinese restaurants Lao Huo Tang and Lao Huo Tang Canton are serving meatless version of Beef Hor Fun, Kung Pao Chicken and Crispy Tofu with Minced Meat. Han’s Union is launching Tuna Puff and Meatball Pasta, while Level 33 has created Cheeseburger Spring Rolls.
These dishes will be on the menu until the end of May 2022, but Yeung hopes the exposure will convince more people to make the switch beyond eating a plant-based diet once a week. In a talk he gave previously, Yeung said his goal is to reach Red Monday, where diners consume meat once a week. I asked him how close are we to that target.
“I wish it could come sooner because that would be for the greater good of the world and humanity,” he said. “But lifelong habits are hard to change overnight. Some people do, but most people don’t. It’s a gradual process.”
Omni Foods is available at Green Common, Shopee, Red Mart and NTUC Fair Price.