South Korea’s Pulmuone Food & Culture, the foodservice arm of food manufacturer Pulmuone, has opened a vegan restaurant called Plantude in Seoul.
Located at COEX Mall in the trendy Gangnam district, the 47-seat restaurant offers 13 dishes such as Bulgogi Deopbap — a rice dish with marinated and barbecued plant-based beef. Plantude has been certified by the Korea Agency of Vegan Assessment & Certification.
Having previously focused on traditional Korean foods such as tofu, seaweed, and kimchi, Pulmuone announced last year that it would be launching 20 new plant-based products under the brand name Plantspired. These include meat alternatives, as well as high-protein and low-carb products. Additionally, Pulmuone is working with BlueNalu to eventually bring cultivated seafood to the South Korean market.
Plant-based skyrocketing in South Korea
Interest in plant-based diets is rapidly increasing in South Korea — it was reported in February that the country’s alt-meat market had expanded by 35% YOY. Within the past ten years, South Korea’s plant-based industry has tripled, and a fifth of the population is now reducing meat consumption.
According to the Korea Vegetarian Union, the number of vegans in the country increased from 150,000 in 2008 to 1.5 million in 2018. Research suggests that millennials are driving the growth of plant-based diets, and “vegan zones” are appearing in large supermarkets to cater to growing demand.
“It is an inevitable trend. People now care about the environment and the rights of animals, and they are more cautious of what they eat,” said Lee Won-bok, head of the Korea Vegetarian Union.