The first time I tried plant-based meat was in a burger at PS.Cafe. I remembered feeling quite nonplussed at how underwhelming the flavour of this faux meat was and wondered if all this fuss was down to an excess in marketing by companies keen to get their version of faux meat into world-famous kitchens the world over. As a food writer, I am keenly aware of how beef should taste like and, for a while, I let my privilege as a carnivore get ahead of myself. I did not take into account the whole spectrum of diets practised by diners the world over, be it by choice, prescribed by a health professional, or merely an alignment with one’s life principles and beliefs. Diversity and inclusivity exist in the food world too.
Now, when asked to review plant-based meat, I have to consciously separate my meat-loving palette from forecasting judgement on a revolutionary product that in many ways, aims to provide more environmentally friendly food choices in a world ravaged by climate change. While the scene has been primarily dominated by the non-meat equivalent of beef and chicken, there have been developments in producing a plant-based protein that has a striking resemblance to pork both in its taste and appearance.
These developments have led to the creation of OmniMeat, first launched in April 2018, that bears a familiar resemblance to traditional pork in both taste and appearance. Fast forward to today, OmniFoods, the company behind OmniMeat, has revealed their latest innovation in the food world that many didn’t see coming—OmniMeat Luncheon and OmniMeat Strip.
According to OmniFoods, Asians love their luncheon meat, with as many as 88% of the population in Mainland China eating it at least once a month. This is followed by their counterparts in South Korea, 78% of whom enjoyed the occasional luncheon meat versus 69% in Hong Kong. These numbers don’t lie, and they form an integral part of why OmniMeat Luncheon was created.
There’s also the issue of health concerns surrounding the consumption of luncheon meat. World Health Organization labels luncheon meat as a Class 1 carcinogen—eating 50g of processed meat or about one slice of luncheon meat, is reported to increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
On the other hand, OmniFoods’ plant-based version of the traditional luncheon meat contains no cholesterol and is rich in protein, dietary fibre, potassium, and calcium. In addition to having close to 50% less fat content and 62% less sodium than its meat counterpart, OmniMeat Luncheon is also cruelty-free, non-GMO, contains no added hormones, antibiotics, and MSG.
Plus, it tastes quite close to the real deal. This is important because according to the founder of OmniMeat, David Yeung, “Eating is not only about filling up our stomachs and absorbing the daily nutrition we need; it is also about satisfying our cravings.” Truer words have never been said.
OmniFood’s other innovation is the OmniMeat Strip—a plant-based alternative to pork shoulder but with calories and fat content that is 48% and 76% lower respectively. Similar to the OmniMeat Luncheon, the Strip is also cruelty-free, non-GMO and contains no added hormones.
Perhaps there’s no better time than now to roll out plant-based pork products given that the African swine fever has led to global food security problems, consequently causing an exponential rise in pork prices. Research has also shown that a food supply chain dominated primarily by animal consumption is not sustainable. According to a study by Our World In Data, a staggering 83% of carbon emissions in the EU comes from the consumption of dairy, meat, and eggs—the other 17% comes from plant-based foods.
The evidence is clear. To reduce the impact on climate change, small furtive steps have to be taken to ensure the survival of our planet for future generations. Food is easily one of the best ways to affect change and with companies such as OmniMeats leading the way to a world population that thrives on plant-based products, one plant-based pork at a time.
The OmniMeat Luncheon and OmniMeat Strips will be available for sale in Singapore on Q4 of 2020.