Why Starbucks Is Launching Vegan Seafood in Hong Kong

Photo shows a collage of a Starbucks employee holding a branded Starbucks cup (left) next to the new plant-based crab dish. This is not the first time Starbucks Hong Kong has used vegan ingredients.

Starbucks Hong Kong’s new festive menu includes vegan seafood from OmniFoods.

The Thai Style New Crabcake Salad dish combines fresh salad, pomelo, and pumpkin with plant-based Omni Crab Cake (topped with real fish sauce) for a nutritious flexitarian choice.

OmniFoods introduced its vegan OmniSeafood series on World Oceans Day earlier this year, including an Omni Classic Fillet, Omni Golden Fillet, Omni Ocean Burger, and OmniTuna. Starbucks Hong Kong is the first industry launch of the plant-based, fish-style protein.

“We are thrilled to have Starbucks Hong Kong to be one of our first OmniSeafood launch partners,” says OmniFoods founder and CEO David Yeung.

“Besides the exciting menu item we are introducing, we trust this is the beginning of raising awareness of ocean preservation,” he added. “Reduction of seafood consumption should be high on everyone’s agenda in terms of combating climate change and ensuring food security for the planet.”


Starbucks Hong Kong, vegan seafood, and sustainability

Yeung is right to highlight the impact of the fishing industry on the environment. Industrialized techniques, overfishing, and aquaculture all contribute to polluted waters, waste, and ongoing ecological devastation. Since 1950, one in three fish populations has collapsed, and at least 66 percent of all large fish have declined.

Crab is no exception. While frequently touted as a more sustainable option, a 2018 study found crustacean farming had an even higher carbon footprint than both cheese and pork. In contrast, vegan seafood is typically far more sustainable than its animal-based counterparts.

In general, Starbucks continues to expand its menu with low-impact dishes and ingredients to promote personal health and sustainability, and the new plant-based seafood dish joins OmniPork, Beyond Meat, Just Egg, a variety of vegan milk options, and more, including at Starbucks Hong Kong.

The appearance of OmniSeafood on Starbucks menus marks the third collaboration between Green Monday’s food tech startup and the world’s largest coffee chain. It follows successful previous launches in both the Philippines (BBQ Mochi Bun, Mince Roll, and Classic Lasagna) and mainland China (GG Double Flavoured Wrap).

At Shanghai’s Starbucks Greener Store Lab (the only “Greener Store” concept outside of the U.S.), half the menu is vegan and oat milk is served as the default coffee creamer. This location is also the exclusive home to OmniPork Truffle Focaccia and Omni Luncheon Cuba Sandwiches.

Meanwhile, Starbucks UK recently launched its fall menu, which includes vegan meatballs and pumpkin spice drinks, and U.S. stores could finally introduce plant-based whipped cream. Check out our guide to fall Starbucks drinks (that aren’t a PSL) here.