By Jennie Wong
Hong Kong has one of the largest meat and seafood consumption levels in the world. Nevertheless, it is evident that plant-based diets are getting more popular in recent years. Food Made Good HK conducted a survey from 1st to 30th September 2020 with 24 Hong Kong-based chefs via LinkedIn and the Food Made Good Community. Here’s a summary of what we found:
Chefs support serving more plant-based dishes in restaurants. Driven by environmental reasons, chefs are becoming more aware of sustainable eating. They believe that eating meat imposes adverse impacts on the environment and consuming less meat is better for one’s health.
Customers’ acceptance of plant-based dishes may be of concern. Chefs are concerned that customers might complain about the reduction of the portion size of meat if reduced for environmental reasons. Customers also perceive meat and fish to be tastier than plant-based dishes. It might be hard to alter the eating habits of meat eaters in Hong Kong.
Chefs require more training on plant-based dishes. Owing to traditional culinary training, chefs were predominantly taught how to cook meat or fish dishes as the centerpiece of a meal. Technical apprenticeship could provide chefs with more recipe ideas and the culinary skills required.
Chefs play a pivotal role in shaping a trend of plant-based cuisine in Hong Kong. In order to create the cultural shift required to move towards healthy sustainable diets, chefs need to play an active role of explaining to customers about the food on their plates. To encourage customers to explore plant-based diets, chefs believe that they are an important driver towards this plant-based trend.
All in all, chefs are positive towards serving more plant-based dishes in their restaurants. However, the problem lies with the customers’ preferences and taste.
With one of the highest consumption rates of meat and seafood in the world, it will undoubtedly take time to change the eating habits of Hong Kong people. However, plant-based cuisine is definitely on the rise. The launch of Omnipork, Impossible Foods, Beyond Burger etc and the mainstreaming of these in large fast food chains suggests a positive trend towards plant-based diets. The increase in the number of plant-based restaurants popping up in Hong Kong also indicates a rising demand for greener meals.
To drive more people towards a plant-based diet, chefs and restaurants play a pivotal role in shaping the trend. With a lack of government policies or campaigns launched by the Hong Kong government, the government should initiate more campaigns to encourage people to explore increasing their plant-based consumption.