Black Friday often means slogging through crowded stores and feasting on Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches.
But this Black Friday will also mark a significant move for Green Common, maker of the plant-based product Omnipork. On November 29, the company will make its mainland China debut through online retailer Tmall during the site’s Black Friday event. Green Common founder David Yeung said over the next two months more than 180 restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing will begin selling Omnipork, according to the South China Morning Post.
Omnipork is a meatless ground pork product developed specifically to appeal palates in Asia, where pork is the most consumed meat. The plant-based pork is currently available online, in Green Common stores and in multiple restaurants in Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Thailand. I got to taste it when I was in Hong Kong earlier this year, and while it wasn’t exactly the same as the real thing, it did a good job of mimicking pork when put in dishes like ramen or dumplings.
The timing is ripe for Omnipork to head to China. With the recent outbreak of the African Swine Flu, China’s pig population is estimated to drop by as much as 50 percent. But Chinese consumers still have an immense appetite for protein.
Green Common isn’t the only meat alternative company to set its sites on China. Just last week Impossible Foods’ CEO Pat Brown did its first product taste in the country at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. There he said that Impossible had developed a pork prototype and was working on scaling it with the intention of selling in China. Beyond Meat has also called out Asia as an area with high market potential for plant-based meat.
Earlier this year Yeung told me that once Omnipork entered China it would double its footprint from 5,000 to 10,000 outlets. It’s still too early to say if Chinese consumers will indeed flock to Omnipork to the degree which he anticipates, but with the prices of pork set to rise over the next few months, the time is certainly good for meat alternatives to enter the Chinese market. And now it looks like Omnipork has secured first-mover advantage.