Is Plant-based Food the Future of Meat in Hong Kong?

The plant-based burger patty offers an alternative protein for meat-lovers in Hong Kong

The Impossible Burger tastes like meat and smells like meat except that it is entirely made of vegetables. This vegetarian burger invented by a Silicon Valley startup has hit the Hong Kong food service market this year.

“We find it important to do our part to work towards a greener future. We all know beef is not sustainable and farming plays a big role in emitting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kim Plaggenburg, a spokeswoman of Beef Liberty, a burger chain that offers vegetarian burgers in Hong Kong.

She told Shroffed that ever since it was introduced in April this year, the meatless burger is among the top best-selling burgers of their chains.


(Video: Mark Leung)

“Hong Kongers in general are a lot more conscious now about the environment and are generally more health-conscious,” she said.

Livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of all human-induced emissions every year according to a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Among the meat products, beef is found to be environmentally most harmful. One study estimated that 16 kg of potatoes, wheat and rice could be produced instead of 1 kg of the red meat indispensable to burger using the same amount of land. The beef also releases 11 times more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the staple foods do.

Hong Kong is one of the most carnivorous cities of Asia. An average Hong Konger consumes 102.7 kg of meat every year.

Significantly lower amount of land and water resources are used to make an Impossible Burger meaning you will feel less guilty as you let your palate dictate what to eat. Carbon footprint from this veggie meat is also much lower than traditional meat.

Why does this burger bleed?

The essential part of the burger that turns the vegetable components into something indistinguishable from meat is heme, a molecule found abundantly in animal meat. The Impossible Foods extract heme from plant sources and incorporate it into its meat substitutes turning the potato and wheat starch, and vegetable fats into metallic taste.

The meatless meat is available in other restaurants serving Hong Kong cuisines. Currently, Little Bao and Happy Paradise serve dishes made with Impossible Burger patty.

Additional reporting from Mark Leung.