In the United States, the plant-based giants we think of are Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. While these titans specialize in the vegan beef category (Beyond Meat does make a pork sausage substitute, however), a third titular vegan brand is finally hitting US shores after years of hype abroad.
Called OmniPork, this plant-based SPAM and pork substitute was created by Right Treat, a vegan brand under the Green Monday group (Right Treat changed their name to OmniFoods in 2020). Green Monday is a global organization based in Hong Kong advocating for a sustainable future of food, and OmniPork is one of the key ways they've been spreading awareness.
OmniPork comes in a few varieties: Luncheon (their take on vegan SPAM), Strip, and a plant-based ground meat. While they make some of their own grocery store products, like frozen dumplings or rice dishes, you can also find it at fast food chains like Taco Bell and McDonald's in Asia, Australia, and the UK.
For those wondering what's inside OmniPork, it's made with a blend of shiitake mushroom, pea, non-GMO soy, and rice. OmniPork claims to have 68% less calories than regular pork, while touting other nutritional benefits like calcium, iron, and fiber.
Eating plant-based meats isn't necessarily meant to be "healthier," but what OmniPork does provide is a way to enjoy the flavors and textures of pork while eating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly diet.
OmniPork's USA debut will happen on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2021, with 8 restaurants getting the honor of serving up the vegan pig first.
In Los Angeles, you can find OmniPork at renowned spots like CHIFA, RiceBox, Little Fatty, MANEATINGPLANT, and Ramen Hood. San Francisco will get OmniPork from Chef Reina and Shizen, while Tane Vegan Izakaya and GOEN in Hawaii will also serve up meatless pork dishes using the product.
The restaurants will have all of their dishes available via delivery as well, and the overall launch is a sneak preview before OmniPork hits grocery stores nationwide this coming summer.
OmniPork's launch in the USA is monumental for multiple reasons. First, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat now have a third oligarch in plant-based meat to compete with, and OmniPork's existing relationships with fast food brands will help it proliferate quickly in the restaurant scene.
Because of its well-established name in Asia, Australia, and the UK, OmniPork also comes with a lot of global street cred, with the USA launch being the latest step on its quest to bring a more sustainable future of food.
As OmniPork continues to grow, we should see plant-based pork offerings of all different kinds pop up across the USA. Personally, I'm rooting for a vegan McRib.