It is evident that the brand markets itself as an all round, sustainable brand. The pork-centric approach of plant based meat is able to target and influence new markets and adapt to fit a wider demographic of people as opposed to the pre-existing beef replicating brands like Impossible Meat. When evaluating the actual product itself, the minimal information on the production process and packaging materials does raise questions as to the extent of how sustainable it actually is. The final product itself, as a means of combating and reducing mass meat consumption does inevitably tackle prominent environmental consequences tied to conventional livestock farming.
Omnipork is a form of plant based protein, consisting of mainly pea, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushroom and rice, that aims to replicate and provide vegan alternatives to pork. The ingredients used bear environmental and health concerns in mind through its all plant based and gm-free nature. Branding themselves as a futuristic solution to tackle issues of global warming and food insecurity, they have since developed several extensions of omnipork, designed to mock different types of pork prevalent among asian cuisine. Using headlines of ‘Western Innovation x Asian Application’ places emphasis on the intersection between the research and design done in Canada and the production and consumption aspects being targeted towards Asian markets. As a person who’s spent their entire life living in Asia and particularly concerned with animal rights, turning to cruelty-free solutions that target more niche markets poses as a great opportunity. Asia’s mass consumption of pork allows such a product to encourage the revolutionizing of diets in conjunction with its environmental, health and animal welfare benefits.
In terms of the packaging, there is little mention on their website except for the paper packaging used for ‘omn!eat’ pork. They claim to use 90% less plastic for this particular product, relative to normal plastic use to package the same volume of meat. The packaging itself similarly doesn’t give detail on the material components of it, nor do other online sources. There is evident variation in the style of packaging, thus the lack of information makes it a questionable aspect of their product’s overall sustainability. Though, it is evident that there are attempts being made to reduce and source alternatives to plastic packaging, as the company intends to be 100% plastic free in the future.
Omnipork bases its research and design in Canada, where new innovations are ultimately and mainly manufactured in Thailand. Stated on their website, ingredients for their products are sourced from Canada and the US, which would mean their production chain spans across national borders. Depending on the type of Omnipork product, ingredients also vary. This wide ranging production process involves a multitude of actors and processes that contribute to the product’s overall sustainability, which has been kept private by their official website. Looking at soy as a major component of Omnipork, industrial scale soy farming does pose environmental concerns. Soy production is largely associated with problems of deforestation, uses of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that have the potential to severely degrade surrounding and eventually global scale environments. Despite its comparative sustainability in relation to traditional livestock farming, such practices arguably offset much of their supposed sustainability. Even with the final product being gm-free and marketed as having no additional additives, this does not eliminate such processes to take place in the growth of the actual ingredients.
The distribution of omnipork relies on e-commerce, as well as navigating through localised food chains and grocery stores. The online market for omnipork arguably makes it more prone to environmental exploitation, in the form of mass consumerism to make it accessible to private homes.
Omnifoods is the food tech company that innovated omnipork, but is part of a greater social venture called ‘Green Monday’. In alliance with Omnifoods’ mission, Green Monday was established on Earth day in 2012 and is built on the foundation of a multitude of social concerns, including climate change, public health and animal welfare by promoting a sustainable food system. It has since received an award by PETA Asia for being ‘Company of the Year’ in 2019, in support with the development of omnipork.
Despite localised strategies of distribution, another noticeable strategy in how omnifoods tries to expand their consumer base is by partnering with fast food chains such as Taco bell. The sustainability of such chains is largely contested, thus their association seems to contradict a lot of the fundamental values that are stated on their websites. As there is very little information on the proportion of sales that arise from fast food chains, it is difficult to make comprehensive claims on their overall sustainability.