Best known for its OmniPork portfolio of vegan pork products, Hong Kong-based OmniFoods has taken the next step towards its mission of overhauling our food consumption habits with the unveiling an ambitious range of plant-based seafood alternatives on World Oceans Day. Named OmniSeafood, the series is launching with four products: the Omni Classic Fillet, Omni Golden Fillet, Omni Ocean Burger, and OmniTuna, with plans to launch OmniSalmon in the near future.
Announced in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the OmniSeafood series is a response by parent company Green Monday Group towards the increasingly dire state of the oceans, due to climate change and destructive fishing practices that are decimating fish stocks and denaturing marine habitats around the world. To date, 90 percent of large fish have disappeared from the oceans, according to one oft-cited statistic from the 2010 Census of Marine Life; and with the second highest rate of seafood consumption per capita, Hong Kong is a lynchpin in the global seafood trade.
"Seafood is not easy to do; there just aren't too many plant-based seafood options," David Yeung, founder of Green Monday, tells Tatler Dining. "From a technical and scientific standpoint, it's more complicated, to be honest. But the numbers are staggering: 73 percent of global seafood consumption happens in Asia. We cannot do everything—there are so many products and foods out there. Both from an impact and customer standpoint, what are the gaps that have not been filled?"
According to Yeung, one of the main reasons for developing OmniSeafood was the lack of vegan seafood alternatives on the market, much as the case was before the launch of OmniPork. The imperative to create a plant-based seafood product that could hold up to the demands of Asian cooking techniques such as steaming and pan-frying also informed the makeup of the alternative meats.
The final proprietary blend of plant-based proteins found in the Classic Fillet, Golden Fillet and Ocean Burger is comprised of non-GMO soy, pea and rice, and replicates mild white fish meat that is suitable for dishes like fish and chips, typhoon shelter fish sticks, and even Sichuan-style boiled fish. The OmniTuna is packaged in a tin and replicates cooked tuna, with the benefit of being mercury-free. The blend also delivers omega-3 ALA derived from non-GMO canola oil, while remaining free of trans fat, cholesterol, hormones, artificial colours, MSGs, added antibiotics or preservatives. As a result, the OmniSeafood series is certified vegan and Buddhist-friendly.