Plant-based diets have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. Viral documentaries (such as “What The Health” and “The Game Changers”) have claimed that going green will bring a host of benefits, not least better health: Many propose that adopting a plant-based diet is also the key to tackling climate change and food insecurity.
But the movement is not without its critics: Some say that going vegan is often a privilege available only to those who can afford it.
It’s why social ventures such as Green Monday exist. The Hong Kong-based company doesn’t want to blindly promote plant-based diets to anyone who’ll listen to them; it wants to help make such diets accessible to everyone.
“If you had asked me several years ago whether plant-based diets were inaccessible, I would have agreed,” says Kelvin Ng, who oversees Green Monday’s business dealings in the region. “But the movement has progressed leaps and bounds over the last two years.”
Earlier this year, Green Monday released OmniMeat, a meat-alternative brand in the vein of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat — but designed specifically for Asian tastebuds. Its luncheon ‘meat’ and ‘pork’ strip products were tailored for people in Asia who wanted to try out a plant-based diet, but who didn’t necessarily want to eat burgers and sausages all the time.
Now, it has launched new collaborations with two local restaurants to bring plant-based dining to more people in Singapore — and to prove that the diet isn’t just for the privileged.
At vegetarian restaurant chain Daily Green, people can now get a balanced (and tasty) vegan meal — all for the price of a hawker dish, thanks to the brand’s partnership with Green Monday. Want something a little different? The restaurant has partnered with UK brand PizzaExpress to offer a vegan-friendly version of one of its most beloved pies, the Pollo Forza.
“There are no special considerations — I treat the vegan mock-meat as I would any traditional meat,” says Louie Moong, who’s PizzaExpress’ head chef in Singapore. “As a chef, I try my best to retain the original essence of the dish — which is the best part about these meat substitutes, since there’s no compromise in taste or texture.”
Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Chu, who was also the former US Secretary of Energy, has said that the meat industry and agriculture are worse for the environment than most other usual suspects.
“Let me say it again: Agriculture and land-use generates more greenhouse gas emissions than power generation,” said Chu in a separate interview.
Green Monday’s Kevin Ng agrees. “In Singapore, we import most of our food, so it’s important that we take food security seriously, since it affects all of us.”
“Disruptions in food supply chains — due to weather changes, and even pandemics like Covid-19 — are happening as we speak. We need to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and work towards change — starting now.”