Have you ever heard of meat made from vegetables? It is not coming from a science fiction story, but to our daily life story now. In fact, nowadays, plant-based meat is not only made from vegetables but also incorporated with some food technology. The recipe is mainly from peas, non-based modified soybeans, mushrooms and rice. In some famous hotels and restaurants in Asia, UK and the US, you can already see the plant-based meat provided by Green Monday. So what is Green Monday and its mission to invent a completely new product with huge risks and another side why it’s so popular among investors and social innovation entrepreneurs?
Credit to Green Monday
Actually, Green Monday is an online term coined by eBay in 2007 to describe the best sales day in December, usually the second Monday of December. But this plant-based meat company, Green Monday, is a multi-faceted social venture founded in Hong Kong on Earth Day 2012. The founder David Yeung and the company advocate for at least one plant-based day per week, engaging all stakeholders to construct a sustainable global ecosystem of future food. And the plant-based meat is their product that was launched by their food-tech company OmniFoods (previously known as Right Treat). They spent 2 years conducting comprehensive research and created the most famous and the first product named OmniPork, and now it’s already been expanded to over 30 global regions including Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
So how did David discover this business opportunity and what drives him to be so successful? We were fortunate enough to participate in an event with David and listen to his story, so we will take this opportunity to share the story of David and Green Monday with you.
David himself has always been very concerned about topics such as the earth crisis, climate change and etc, and hopes to call on more people to participate in actions to protect the earth. Once he was deeply touched when he was reading a report knowing that except cars and smokestacks to exhaust gas, the truth is, our food poses one of the gravest dangers to the planet and is one of the largest contributors to climate change. So the livestock sector is among the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. It emits an estimated 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum, representing 14.5% of all human-induced emissions. Cattle represents 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions, holding the title as the species responsible for the most emissions. (FAO, 2013, “Tackling climate change through livestock”) Besides, an estimated 1.29 billion metric tonnes of waste is produced by the Chinese pork industry per year. In North America, the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is an oxygen-depleted ocean caused by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that comes from the hog industry.
David then realized that people should eat more vegetables to reduce their dependence on animal husbandry, thereby reducing the damage to the earth. However, people’s meat-eating habits cannot be changed in a short time and most of them are reluctant to change, so David thought of providing people with the option of ‘eating veg’ instead of simply taking away the meat-eating habits. David then teamed up with another famous social innovator in Hong Kong, Francis Ngai, and co-founded Green Monday to develop options for people to eat vegetarian meat, so that people can eat it with a meat-eating feeling and be more willing to adopt it, so as to gradually change people’s consumption conception, also reduce the risk of certain diseases ( including coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers and obesity).
Now Green Monday Group is equipped with food tech, business, investment and advocacy arms, and is designed as a platform to include everyone to be part of the change. Green Monday Holdings consists of Green Common and OmniFoods; Green Common is a plant-based food retail, distribution and dining business with a sales network that spreads across more than 10 global regions; OmniFoods is a food tech company with its future food innovations include OmniPork, OmniPork Luncheon, OmniPork Strip and OmniEat; Green Monday Ventures is an impact investment arm that supports the growth of plant-based and alternative meat businesses globally; Green Monday Foundation works on plant-based advocacy programmes that partner with schools, restaurants and corporate internationally. The mission of plant-based meat is not only to construct a multi-faceted global ecosystem of future food that combats climate change, food insecurity, public health crisis, planetary devastation, and animal suffering, but also to encourage individuals, communities and businesses to move towards a sustainable, healthy and mindful lifestyle in order to build a future ecosystem of common interests and sustainable development.
As a social enterprise, it has the mission to ‘Save the Earth’, and the founder David has received the award of “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by Schwab Foundation and the World Economic Forum in 2018 for this recognition. As a company, it has achieved innovative change, Fortune Magazine ranked Green Monday Group top 32 on its 2020 “Change the World” list (it’s an annual ranking of top businesses that are doing well by doing good). The group’s list of recognitions also includes “2019 Company of the Year” by PETA Asia, “Sustainable Food Influencer” by WWF HK, Roddenberry Prize by the Roddenberry Foundation in 2018, and “Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in China” in 2014 by Fast Company magazine.
The existence of Green Monday is something that every one of us cannot ignore, so it also attracts investors with the same mission to accelerate the transformation of a resilient food system together. In 2020, Green Monday raised US$70 million in investment led by TPG’s The Rise Fund and Swire Pacific Limited, representing the largest round of its kind to date in Asia. The round also drew new angel investment from renowned artist Wang Leehom, adding to the group’s growing list of high-profile backers, including James Cameron, Mary McCartney and Susan Rockefeller.
As a food company, in addition to the ambitious mission, the quality of food is the key. I have bought dumplings made with OmniPork fillings in a supermarket in Hong Kong earlier, the taste is the same as that of meat, and there is no difference you can tell at all. And OmniPork also contains 0mg cholesterol and it is free from hormones, antibiotics or cruelty, and 86% lower in saturated fat and 66% lower in calories than real pork. Additionally, it offers much higher fiber, 2.6 times more calcium and 127% higher in iron. The climate and animal-friendly innovation was recognised by PETA Asia and helped its parent company Green Monday earn the prestigious title of “Company of the Year 2019”.
Business can go further only by doing ‘Good’, which is why venture capitalists are optimistic about business plans with a certain social mission recently. Green Monday has an ambitious mission, which is one reason why it is so popular. If you want to join this vegetarian revolution, you might as well search for Green Common to support Green Monday, and try to eat plant meat to change your consumption habits, so that we can all contribute to saving the planet.
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