In 1931, Sir Winston Churchill said it was absurd to rear a whole chicken just to eat the breast or wing. He suggested, “grow these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Two years later, wheat-based fake meats and commercially available soy products were born.
Going back into history, Buddhist monks during the 10th century Song Dynasty were already preparing vegetarian sausages and mock meat dishes for their meat-loving visitors with the intention to give a “feel of home-cooked food”.
EVOLUTION OF FAUX MEAT
We have now witnessed the evolution from tofu-based meats to more variations of plant-based creations that include combinations of tofu, rice, peas and more. Food innovation has unveiled lab-grown plant-based meat that , and taste almost the same as real meat, with a chewy texture and even blood-like droplets.
Although most varieties are fully vegan, some may contain eggs and dairy sources, so it is important to check labels. From vegan chicken to vegan beef, these pseudo meats can be even shaped, textured and coloured to replicate jumbo shrimps, veggie patties, turkey meat and any kind of meat.
The year 2014 had recorded that 1% of the US population as vegan. This number rose to 6% in 2018, where people below 25 years old were cited to be motivated towards reduced meat consumption due to environmental reasons. On the other side of the ocean, 56% of UK respondents in the Meat and Poultry report indicated that meat is not compulsory in their three daily meals. The ratio of non-meat eaters continues to increase year after year as more consumers change their eating habits due to religious, ethical, environmental and health concerns. Nevertheless, because many have grown up eating meat, the pattern has transcended from consuming real meat to alternative meat products.
More people are swapping from eating real meat to plant-based options that contain more nutrition such as vitamins, protein, fibre and lower saturated fat. The long-term health benefits? Lower risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Compared to rearing cows for beef, cultivating plants for food require relatively less land space and water, with lower risk of pollution. It is also more sustainable.
SERVING UP VEGAN MEATS
Vegan restaurants that serve a mind-boggling array of plant-based meat dishes are sprouting worldwide. If you haven’t caught up yet with this trend, then you really should. Tantalise your mind and imagine plant ingredients masquerading as real meat, possibly providing more nutrients in the meal.
Imagine biting into Shiitake mushroom “bacon”, “seitan” or vegetarian wheat meat that can be fried, breaded and tossed like chicken meat, textured vegetable protein that replaces ground beef. The possibilities are endless!
VEGAN MEAT AROUND ASIA
When you visit Singapore, don’t forget to check out VeganBurg , which has been around for 8 years. It is flourishing year after year – preparing delicious plant-based burgers as its signature menu offering to a growing number of fans.
Popular US brand Beyond Burger, which has Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio as investors, is also in town. Its mock meat burger patty is showcased at the Grand Hyatt Singapore at an affordable price of $25++ for a plant-based burger and sides, compared to a beef patty meal that costs $32++.
Other notable vegan restaurants in Singapore include Loving Hut, Elemen, Joei Restaurant and Sufood, all renowned for their vegelicious selections. For those who prefer to cook at home, British name Quorn’s plant-based protein selections are found in local supermarkets.
Over in Hong Kong, Beyond Burger has also made a great head start in 2017, charting significant increase in sales. Closely following its tracks is Impossible Foods where investors include the likes of Singapore’s prominent Temasek Holdings and Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing. The latter has its eyes set on the huge China market, which is home to an estimated 50 million vegetarians.
Another notable brand is Omnipork; popular for its plant-based pork products. These have the consistency, functionality and flavour of traditional ground pork. It’s even called a superfood as its high-quality vegan protein contains high fibre, is 233% higher in calcium and 53% higher in iron. It is also free from cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones and cruelty yet 62% lower in calories and 71% lower in saturated fat compared to real pork.
In China, the Vegetarian Butcher from Holland has made its mark with its plant-based meat products that are touted as “indistinguishable from the real thing”. If you are exploring the Pearl of the Orient in Penang, Malaysia -check out Lily’s Vegetarian Kitchen which dishes out amazing faux chicken dishes.
Heading north to Bangkok, Thailand, May Veggie Home is the home of meatless bacon and fried “fish” while further away in Chiang Mai, Thailand, tempting vegan buffets abundant with meat-free selections and lookalike meat dishes await at Happy Green and Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society. Taiwan stands amongst Asia’s most vegan cities. 10% of its population are non-meat eaters! There are over 6,000 veggie restaurants and cafes. Hidden Gem About Animals is famous for its wasabi mayo vegan burgers, faux hot dogs and mock bacon sandwiches.
Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Eric Schmidt (Alphabet CEO) are some of those who have already invested in the plant-based meat industry. Gates advocated the trend as “the future of food”, advocating this as more than just a “clever meat substitute”.
Richard Branson believes that “new meat” will replace traditional meat within thirty years while in 2017, Schmidt said that one of the six technological innovations that will impact humanity in future is plant-based meat. His contention is that it requires less resources and creates less pollution compared to conventional meat, and even requires less resources to produce.
By 2054, according to Lux Research one-third of the global meat market will be plant-based. In 2017 alone, the sales of plant-based meat alternatives rose by 24% compared to 2016, compared to animal meat’s mediocre 2%.
In Singapore, the market is growing, thanks to the collaboration between US-based Wilmar International Limited, National University of Singapore and the National Research Foundation of Singapore – which have set up a S$110-million R & D facility for plant-based foods like chicken satay.
So – where do you fit in?
SUPERFOOD ASIA 2019
Look out for amazing opportunities and contacts at SuperFood Asia 2019. The world’s top vegan meat suppliers and buyers will descend onto Singapore for this showcase event. It is the perfect occasion to network and connect with the vegan food industry game changers. Fast forward your business here!