4 minutes to read
Hong Kong startup Good Food Technologies, which makes vegetarian pork, has announced the closing of an oversubscription 12 million Hong Kong dollars (about 1.5 million US dollars) seed round Led by Asian VC Gobi Partners, in its first investment in the alternative protein sector, with further participation from LeverVC, DayDayCook and Brinc.
Good Food manufactures vegan products designed for Asian cuisine and dishes. The new funding will be used to promote an upcoming retail launch, as well as establish pilot production in the Greater Bay Area. After securing premium food service contracts over the past year with Disneyland, among others, Good Food is looking to roll out the Plant Sifu consumer group into supermarkets.
An IncuTech graduate at Hong Kong Science Park says that over the next two years, the startup will open a Series A round, launch additional products and expand the distribution map, with a particular focus on the US, UK and Singapore.
Founded in 2020, Good Food’s initial product R&D focused on Chinese Dim Sum. The company says pork fat is what gives many dumplings their distinct flavor and aroma, which led the founders to develop a proprietary technology called Aromax, a konjac-based packaging technology that mimics the fatty flavors of pork.
Joshua Ng, The co-founder of Good Food Technologies said green queen That ultimate goal is to become Asia’s impossible food to become pork, the way vegan beef burgers are famous. Impossible has a famous patent for its signature ingredient heme, which the company says imparts an iron-rich, bleeding mouth feel to beef.
“We strive to become the plant-based brand for Asian cuisine, as evidenced by our Plant Sifu brand and start with core Chinese retail products. [dim sum and dumplings] and QSR’s Asian partners,” says Ng.
Gastronomy first, then retail
Founders Ng and Dr. Andrew Leung PhD built Good Food based on what they refer to as a mutual passion for food. Leung was exposed to good food early on, thanks to his family’s traditional Chinese restaurant. Ng traces his interest in food systems as he worked on the development of a $500 billion smart city in Saudi Arabia.
Good Food currently has a line of eight vegan pork products made with soy protein. Five are for corporate use, including meatballs, pies, burgers and ground pork. The remaining three are aimed at consumers in the form of ready-to-cook dumplings.
“Overall, our strategy is to serve food with a ‘gastronomy first’ approach, then retail accessible and affordable Chinese staples,” says Ng. “We envision B2B and B2C to be 50/50 in the long run, with one channel generating value for the other.”
Expansion into the Chinese mainland
Good Food says it prioritizes China in the short to medium term. While the company does not have an official presence there yet, it is already testing its products on the market. The upcoming funding will allow the startup to develop strategic partnerships in the country. One potential partner is Tao Heung Group, which has more than 100 restaurants across Hong Kong and China.
“Our focus for the next 12-18 months is China, but we will also open up distribution in key international markets,” Ng explains. “On the product side, we are focused on making existing pork products more nutritious and expanding into other animal categories.
The company will face competition in the mainland vegetarian pork sector from Hong Kong associate OmniFoods as well as local brand Starfield, both of which have large followings and financial support.
China’s commitment to alternative protein
Good Food seems to have chosen an opportune moment to launch its alternative protein pork counterparts in mainland China. Last week, President Xi referred to the alternative protein sector in a speech on future food security. Many took his words as a sign of approval of vegetarian and farmed meat, which could lead to government support. Food security is an ongoing concern, particularly in light of the African swine flu outbreak which has led to dwindling pork imports. President Xi’s words came after cultivated meat and “future foods” were included in China’s five-year agricultural plan, for the first time ever, heralding what some see as a growing acceptance and demand for proteins in China.
All photos by Good Food Technologies.