A recent World Bank brief highlighted how most countries are facing growing levels of food insecurity, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. With reduced incomes and disrupted supply chains giving rise to chronic and acute hunger, other hazards include climate change, conflicts, pests, and other natural hazards. While global food prices remain relatively stable, domestic food inflation is rising in some countries, says the report.

Food security is not the only concern, as food production also has a heavy impact on the environment. On a global basis, food production has a significant contribution to global deforestation, global greenhouse gas emissions, terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity loss, freshwater consumption, and the degradation of agricultural production land. One of the goals of FoodTech is to address not only food security, but the environmental impact of production, as well.

“Food technology is critical in addressing global food insecurity and environmental crisis, says entrepreneur David Yeung, who is the Co-Founder & CEO of Green Monday Group. “It is about producing food much more efficiently in terms of resource and water consumption, while minimizing pollution and carbon emission, the goal is to achieve a sustainable future.”

Green Monday Group is a multi-faceted social venture with the mission to take on the world’s most pressing crises of climate change, food insecurity and public health. With the global sustainability movement initiated by Green Monday Foundation, the revolutionary food technology innovation in OmniFoods and OmniPork, the market transforming plant-based retail, dining and distribution network in Green Common, and the impact investment arm in Green Monday Ventures, Yeung has pioneered a one-of-a kind integrated platform that engages and empowers millions of people, along with public and private sectors, towards green awareness, action and economy.

A winner at the Startup Awards – FoodTech & AgriTech category at the 2021 ORIGIN Innovation Awards, OmniFoods has a mission to innovate food that will treat the planet right, treat animals right and treat consumers right. The company’s established food scientist team in Canada innovates food 2.0 based on Asian eating culture and cooking habits while ensuring that the ingredients are cruelty-free, cholesterol-free, antibiotic-free, and hormone-free.

Following the successful launch of OmniPork in 2018, OmniPork Luncheon, and OmniPork Strip in 2020, OmniFoods has unveiled the unparalleled OmniSeafood series – Omni Classic Fillet, Omni Golden Fillet, Omni Ocean Burger, and OmniTuna in 2021, making its first foray into the plant-based fish market and leading a new wave in the FoodTech trend. OmniFoods also has a ready-to-eat series, OmniEat, that provides a range of healthy and nutritious ready-to-eat food.

David provides insights on the relevance of technology in food and environment in a TechNode Global Q&A as part of the 2021 ORIGIN Innovation Awards.

David Yeung, Co-Founder & CEO of Green Monday Group

What are the trends driving innovation in the Asia Pacific region today, particularly relevant to Food and Agriculture in the context of technology?

The food and agricultural industry is seeing unprecedented revolutionization, the innovation of plant-based meat is one of the major food tech focuses. The trends driving such innovations is the acceleration of demand in Asia towards plant-based food, as the general public have a growing concern regarding the environmental impact and sustainability of the livestock industry, and they are now seeking safer and healthier alternatives in the wake of the COVID outbreak.

What are three key challenges that you are addressing, and how is your company providing unique solutions to these challenges?

There were many challenges I faced when creating this startup–particularly one that aims to change food culture and educate people on the correlation between food and sustainability. For me, the biggest challenge was building awareness, followed by creating practical solutions that motivate and empower people to change.

Educating consumers on the relationship between food insecurity, environmental crisis and veganism or flexitarianism has been one of our missions since the beginning. When it comes to food, taste and gratification are paramount–people want to enjoy food! In the early days, plant-based or vegan and vegetarian foods were not attractive to a vast majority of the general public.

The breakthrough for us came when we started to introduce tasty and nutritious products that not only catered to plant-based diets but also appealed to the meat-eaters. After providing an approachable (and delicious) solution to plant-based eating, we found the general public began to cultivate their own understanding of the benefits of reducing meat consumption–not only for their own wellbeing but for the health of the planet.

It has been a ten-year journey. Today, the Green Monday movement has expanded to a multi-faceted social venture model with offices and advocates across Asia, the UK, and USA. We have created and continue to innovate revolutionary products such as OmniPork and OmniSeafood that both educate and provide practical solutions to sustainable living.

What are your bold predictions in the food and/or agriculture sector in the medium term? How about the long-term?

Research from Barclays, AT Kearney and UBS all indicate that, within the next 5 to 10 years, plant-based meat will make up for 10 percent (or higher) market share of the meat industry. Unilever, Tesco and IKEA are among the mainstream conglomerates that indicate strong upward momentum for plant-based products. For the benefit of humanity and the well-being of the planet, we need to shift the way we eat, and that change is already under way.

Can you share some case studies from your portfolio or partners that are a good example of how technology can bring about impactful change amid today’s business environment?

Our food technology created OmniPork and OmniSeafood, a sustainable and healthy alternative for consumers which is not only beneficial to health, but helps change the food industry and the environment. The livestock industry is associated with animal cruelty and overuse of antibiotics and hormones, not to mention the huge carbon footprint. Plant-based alternatives not only shortens the supply chain, but also makes meat free from the harmful substances potentially found in animal-based protein, such as antibiotics, hormones, mercury and microplastics.

As sustainable diets and health-centric lifestyle gains traction, plant-based meat is widely adopted by food industry giants, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks are all our food service partners, a testament to the growing threat of climate change and the awareness to create impact through our diets.

The future of food