Saving the planet…one dumpling at a time

Nearly three quarters of consumers globally are limiting or avoiding meat altogether, and this is helping cut global greenhouse gas emissions.

omnipork
Omnipork, the alternative to pork made from plants produced by Hong Kong-based environmental campaigning group Green Monday. Image: Green Monday via Thomson Reuters Foundation

Canadian scientists have collaborated with Hong Kong climate campaigners to create meat-free dumplings in the hope of persuading the world’s biggest carnivores to stop pigging out.

China eats more meat than any other nation—twice the amount consumed by Americans alone—and a campaigning Hong Kong business is launching a more sustainable, plant-based diet that it says has less impact on global warming. But all of the taste.

“Just to tell people what not to do is not going to solve the problem. You’ve got to give them alternatives,” David Yeung, founder of Green Monday, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, these are mega, giant problems. The easiest way to help the planet is to reduce meat consumption,” the business founder said.

Green Monday was founded in 2012 as a social enterprise - a business with a mission to benefit society as well as turn a profit. It will launch Omnipork at its six Green Common foodstores, all in Hong Kong, at the beginning of June.

The easiest way to help the planet is to reduce meat consumption.

David Yeung, founder, Green Monday

It is the latest alt-meat product aimed at carnivores open to ethical alternatives with less environmental fallout.

Scientists attribute nearly 15 per cent of global greenhouse gases to meat production.

The industry is the largest driver of global environmental change due to feed production, land use and methane emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO).

Food, glorious food

China consumes a lot more meat than any other country.

People ate about 74 million tonnes of pork, beef and poultry in 2017, about twice as much as the United States, according to US government estimates.

Omnipork is the first food product from Green Monday, which campaigns for people to ditch meat at least once a week.

Made of shiitake mushroom, rice and pea protein, the new food will initially only be available in prepared dishes such as dumplings and a traditional Asian dish of dan dan noodles.

As well as running grocery stores, the social enterprise has an online directory of restaurants with vegetarian menus and has invested in Beyond Meat, a California-based firm that produces a burger made from plants.

Yeung said it took Canadian food scientists about 18 months to achieve the right texture, moistness and taste that means the product is “almost indistinguishable” from real pork.

Nearly three quarters of consumers globally are limiting or avoiding meat altogether, according to GlobalData, a data analysis company that surveyed nearly 27,000 people in 36 countries, including China.

“The shift toward plant-based foods is being driven by millennials, who are most likely to consider the food source, animal welfare issues, and environmental impacts,” Fiona Dyer, a consumer analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement.

This story was published with permission from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org.

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