Intern @ Future Green | 21st February 2024 | 4min read

Adopting a plant-forward approach, reducing meat consumption, and ensuring access to nutritious foods are key to healthy and sustainable diets!

Following the festive Chinese New Year, the Future Green community got together on a sunny February afternoon for the second Members Monthly Meetup of 2024 to discuss “Plant-Forward and Less and Better Meat” at the Swire Archive Centre. 

Before the meetup began, our kind hosts gave us a special Swire Archive Tour sharing Swire’s rich history and connection with Hong Kong. Curious about the namesake Taikoo Sugar, Heidi was curious about fair-trade sugar – that’s a question for another time! Wherever we are, food sustainability is all around us!

Group picture!

We kicked off with a brief intro cage free and higher welfare chicken. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization production of meat accounts for approximately 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, Hong Kong is the largest consumer of pork. However, as Heidi shares, it’s not necessarily about eliminating animal protein, it is about making more informed and responsible choices including high-welfare meat, cage-free eggs, and plant-forward meals, including plant-based meat. 

Sharing how this is possible we were joined by Wendy Chan from Planet for All, dialing in from New Zealand Marianne Macdonald from Animals Aotearoa, and Derek Lee from KARANA also dialing in, from Singapore as our esteemed speakers for this afternoon. 


Not cagey about cage-free eggs!

Wendy shared that her organisation is driving impact by encouraging responsible consumption and supporting food companies to source cage-free eggs.


Wendy from Planet for All

Wendy calls cage-free eggs a “low-hanging fruit”, as they not only reduce chicken suffering and call for improved animal welfare but have many health and nutritional benefits, such as higher protein content and lower salmonella risk. Quoting that 40% are willing to pay extra for cage-free eggs, Wendy assures us that Asia is stepping up with numerous cage-free egg commitments across Hong Kong. She finishes off with a galvanising message for civilised societies, like Hong Kong, to banish battery eggs.

Healthier chicken, healthier us! 

Marianne joined us next to discuss the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), and Animals Aotearoa’s efforts in improving chicken welfare as a charity and Open Wing Alliance (OWA) member. The BCC requirements call for a switch to healthier breeds, more space, environmental enrichment, better air quality, and less suffering at slaughter, which Marianne clarifies are global and the minimum. Marianne is positive that the future fares well for chicken welfare with more than 600 and increasing BCC sign-ups.

Marianne from Animals Aotearoa

Through the BCC commitment, chickens have better living standards, including places to perch, less routine use of antibiotics, and outdoor space to roam which results in higher protein, and lower waste (due to lower mortality). So overall quality of chicken is improved for human consumption with slower growing breeds – this makes a lot of sense!

It’s shocking to hear Marianne dive into the unpleasant details of quality issues of fast-growing breeds such as woody meat, white striping, and green muscle disease – we all agree that signing up for the BCC is a good solution for higher animal welfare, it is a “win-win” for the chickens, consumers, food businesses, and producers. After a few questions from Members we …


Step forward to plant-forward meat!

We shifted our focus to plant-forward meals with Derek Lee from KARANA, a Hong Kong born brand creating delicious plant-based meat from fallen jackfruit, that supports biodiversity, healthy soil, and meeting consumer needs.

Sourced from Sri Lankan smallholder farming communities, the high-yielding, low-input jackfruit is KARANA’s optimum and no-brainer choice as it meets their aim of incorporating underutilised and overlooked ingredients for biodiverse, bioavailable, nutritious, and tasty products.

Derek Lee from KARANA

KARANA stands apart as the jackfruit’s well-suited dense and fibrous texture does not require denaturing, and the high nutritional value and low-fat content keeps the ingredient list short. 

With a chef in the audience concerned with the lack of variety in textures, Derek shares KARANA’s plans to introduce shredded meat this year allowing for even more diversified dishes! Our audience was ready to get their hands on KARANA’s products which are available in the U.S. Singapore, and Hong Kong!


February wrap-up!

We winded up the afternoon with a fun, energising Kahoot! quiz with the winner receiving a voucher from our Member La Cabane and ending our fruitful event with everyone catching up on the latest sustainability stories!

Catching up!

We will continue to discuss a wide array of food sustainability-related topics for our Member Monthly Meetup as 2024 progresses guided by our framework. Save the date for 12th of March, where we’ll be focusing on “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”, at our next meetup, stay tuned for more information!

👉 Looking to be part of the change? Join our community of changemakers by booking a discovery call with us, we’d love to chat!  Or learn more by clicking the link below ⬇️


Thank you to our wonderful hosts at Swire Archive and sponsors: InvestHK and Fresh Accounting as well as our speakers from Karana, Animals Aotearoa and Planet for All.


The Members Monthly Meetup Series is a monthly gathering designed to educate and empower the Hong Kong foodservice community — chefs, restaurateurs, FOH, BOH, suppliers and sustainability leads as well as everyone and anyone interested in food sustainability including schools, businesses, consultants and NGOs.


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