Vegan “SPAM” is back on the menu in McDonald’s Hong Kong. Only this time, it’s less salty and has an improved texture.
In 2020, the fast-food giant added OmniPork Luncheon meat (made by Hong Kong-based food tech brand OmniFoods) to menus in 280 locations.
At the time, OmniFoods’ founder David Yeung told Plant Based News: “We are extremely excited to have OmniPork Luncheon available in this leading restaurant chain.”
“We hope more customers can indulge without guilt and embrace a green lifestyle anywhere and anytime.”
The move was a success, and since its launch, the chain has sold 3.7 million OmniPork Luncheon menu items. So, it’s no surprise that McDonald’s Hong Kong has decided to bring the popular vegan “SPAM” back.
Now, the OmniPork Luncheon meat has “reduced saltiness,” a “better texture,” and is available as part of several menu options, including a Luncheon Meat Jumbo Breakfast, a Luncheon Meat McMuffin, and a Scrambled Egg Burger.
The chain has also added new dairy-free lattes made with Oatly to the menu, as well as OmniFoods’ OmniTuna. The latter features in pizza bread, a cheese pasta option, and ciabatta with egg mayo.
While meatless pork is progress, the inclusion of eggs means the new options are not vegan.
The egg industry is rife with cruelty, with hens often kept in cramped, barren cages on factory farms, where they are unable to display their natural behaviors. Male chicks are also frequently culled in the industry, as they are unable to lay eggs.
According to World Animal Protection, McDonald’s rates “Very Poor” on its chicken welfare Pecking Order scale.
Vegan “SPAM” in Hong Kong
But the move to offer vegan “SPAM” in Hong Kong is still significant.
The original ultra-processed meat product made by Hormel Foods comes from the US. But after World War II, its shelf stability and affordability made it a popular ration item in Hong Kong and across Asia.
According to Yeung, nearly 40 percent of luncheon meat is consumed in Asia. He told CNN in 2020 that “even a small shift could have a major impact,” before adding that consumers need to understand that while similar, OmniPork Luncheon is not identical to Hormel’s original.
He said: “It’s like Diet Coke and real Coke. Everyone knows that Diet Coke is not quite the same as Coke, but once you understand the benefits, then you’re willing to say, I’ll swap the slight change in taste for this version that is better for me.”
OmniPork isn’t just better for people’s health, it’s also better for the planet. According to the UN, animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions every year.