Demand for innovative plant-based food in the region is rising and Yeung, founder and CEO of Green Monday Group and founder of plant-based protein company OmniFoods, is confident in the potential of the Singapore market.
“The long queues are a huge testament to the increasing demand for plant-based food in Singapore,’ he told Inside Retail.
“More and more people are also purchasing plant-based products – such as OmniMeat and Beyond Meat – from various online and offline retail channels. And I’m thrilled to see that the market is growing, with many vegan eateries mushrooming in Singapore over the past ten years, providing conscious eaters with a wide variety of choices.”
Strategically located at one of Singapore’s popular retail and entertainment malls, VivoCity, the latest Green Common includes a dedicated retail area and wider cafe space that seats 112 indoors and 36 outdoors.
The retail store boasts the largest selection of market-leading plant-based alternative brands in Singapore, with 50+ innovative products such as Alpha Foods vegan Chik’n Nuggets and Just Egg, the recently launched alternative to eggs.
“Food innovation is a big part of what we do at Green Monday,” Yeung said. “As we try to shift people’s mindset away from consuming meat and animal dairy, we also need to empower consumers with practical alternatives and appealing meat-free options to choose from.”
At the cafe, it’s about offering affordable vegan-friendly dishes to make plant-based eating accessible and fun. Louie Moong, the in-house chef who brings decades of experience from hotels and restaurants around Asia, creates a menu tailored to local tastes with no shortage of creativity.
“Each café has a curated menu that has been specifically designed to cater to local tastes. At our newest Green Common in Singapore, diners can enjoy familiar Singaporean hawker staples like Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa and Rendang Chicken Roti that have been creatively adapted to have zero meat but all of the flavour,” Yeung said.
There’s also interesting takes on traditionally meaty classics, such as the K-Dog, a Moving Mountains vegan hot dog.
While vegan and vegetarian consumers in the know are likely to be familiar with this food and lifestyle experience, the approachable setting and creative menu makes it appeal to those looking to reduce their meat intake – the flexitarian consumer.
Yeung said the concept is about welcoming all food lovers, vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters included.
“We created Green Common with the mindset of creating an all-inclusive environment; vegans can dine socially whilst meat-eaters can sample meat alternatives at their best through our 100% vegan menu,” Yeung said.
While he said there’s higher demand from millennials who are more conscious of their eating habits and its impact on their health and the environment, he expects over the next few years that consumers, in general, will be increasingly drawn to the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.
His aim with Green Monday is to provide “practical transitions” towards sustainable living.
“Our overall objective is not to convert people to the plant-based lifestyle overnight – such a drastic change is not realistic for many. Rather, we want to encourage the masses to see the benefits of gradually reducing their meat intake, both for their own wellbeing and the health of the environment,” he said.
Hub of innovation
With retailers eager to feed demand for plant-based alternatives, Singapore has become a hub of innovation, according to Yeung, and the government is backing this growing industry.
“It is commendable that the Singapore government is also playing an active role in investing in and promoting food tech and alternative protein. Some of the new exciting start-ups such as TurtleTree Labs are also founded in Singapore. We believe Singapore will be a crucial hub for innovation and market acceptance to propagate plant-based lifestyle,” he told Inside Retail.
With the bulk of Green Common stores based in Hong Kong to date, Yeung is excited about expanding the concept further throughout Asia.
“We opened our first Green Common outside of Hong Kong with our Shanghai outlet in December 2020, shortly followed by Singapore in January 2021. We have plans to expand to more strategic cities in Asia in the future.”