A plant-based vegan pork alternative will launch in Hong Kong this Summer.
Omnipork (known as 'new pork' in Chinese) is the brainchild of David Yeung - the founder of Green Common, a veggie grocery store and dining chain in Hong Kong.
Yeung wanted to create a product which would taste like traditional pork, and have the same applications, without the negative ethical, health, and environmental implications of slaughtering animals.
The product, which is made by Yeung's company Right Treat and has received financing from a number of financial investors, is made from shiitake mushroom, rice, non-GMO soy, and plant protein.
In an interview with Plant Based News, Yeung revealed that he's been assembling the right team, and developing the product, for a long time.
He said: "With entrepreneurship, as much as you have a dream or vision, at the end it's about execution and execution requires a high performance, mission-aligned good team.
"We are very fortunate to have come across food scientists - the people who are very familiar with consumer tastes and also the Asian palate."
While consumers have access to a number of high-tech plant-based alternatives to meat, Cheung felt that pork has so far been overlooked, an oversight he described as 'ironic'.
"Pork is the most consumed meat in the world - particularly in Asia," he said. "Asian people, Chinese people, we use pork in so many ways.
"In the Western world people mainly look pork as bacon, ham, and sausages. But in Asia we use it in everything - in dim sum, in dumplings, in buns, in noodles, and fried rice. It has all sorts of applications."
David Yeung talks to Plant Based News.Subscribe to PBN's YouTube Channel here
He added: "In China, the pork to beef ratio in terms of consumption is seven to one. In Vietnam, it's 10 to one. So it's not even close. 65 percent of meat consumed in China is pork."
This translates to more than 700 million pigs per year - which not only raises huge ethical issues, but environmental ones - with these animals producing more than a billion metric tonnes of livestock waste - as well as medical ones.
"The product is obviously cholesterol-free, all the harm, all the cruelty, all the things that are not good from meats, it's completely free-from," said Yeung
"It's also around 70 percent lower in saturated fat, 200 percent higher in calcium, and 50 percent higher in iron than pork. And of course, there's enough protein for everyone."
According to Cheung, an important part of the Research and Development process (R&D) was making sure that the product is user-friendly.
He said: "We put a lot of time into thinking about how Asian families, or a chef in a Chinese restaurant, use pork. That's why it wasn't just a matter of which tasted best, or which had the best nutrition.
"[We also asked ourselves] 'can we put this in the hands of consumers, home cooks, anyone - without them requiring a manual on how to use it?'."
Omnipork will launch in Hong Kong in June, at Michelin-starred restaurant Cantonese Ming Court. Currently, Right Treat is seeking approval from Chinese regulators. It hopes to sell Omnipork in mainland China before the end of 2018.