As part of a continuing commitment to offer diverse protein options, Pokeworks, the world’s largest fast-casual poke chain, is partnering with leading plant-based pork supplier OmniFoods to trial vegan musubi.
The two brands will collaborate on a test launch of new Omni Musubi – a recreation of Pokeworks’ popular Garlic Spam Musubi – in seven corporate restaurants in Irvine, CA, Seattle, Silicon Valley and New York City.
Musubi is a lunch item consisting of grilled luncheon meat sandwiched with rice and wrapped in nori seaweed.
The first product of its kind, the OmniPork Luncheon is a plant-based pork protein meant to offer the same savory flavor and juicy texture as traditional SPAM. OmniPork Luncheon is made from non-GMO soy, peas, shiitake mushrooms and rice, and contains less fat, calories and sodium than pork-based SPAM.
Pokeworks’ Omni Musubi product trial also coincides with Veganuary, the massively popular annual challenge that promotes a plant-based lifestyle.
“After our successful expansion in the US over the last six months, we are incredibly delighted to partner with Pokeworks and bring OmniPork to more people and communities as well as fulfill our mission to construct a multi-faceted global ecosystem of future food,” said David Yeung, founder and CEO of OmniFoods. “We have no doubt that the new OmniPork Luncheon Musubi will be a success, and we look forward to growing our partnership while taking a stance to support Veganuary and appreciate the impact food can have on our world.”
Cultivating salmon sushi
Pokeworks has also previously announced plans to partner with alt-seafood startup WildType, which produces sushi-grade salmon from cultivated fish cells. Last year, the food tech company opened the first pilot plant and sushi bar for cell-cultured salmon, and once capable of producing commercial quantities, hopes to replace a percentage of Pokeworks’ fresh salmon with a more sustainable alternative.
“Wildtype is on a mission to create the cleanest, most sustainable seafood on the planet, starting with salmon. We are pioneering cellular agriculture to grow delicious cuts of sushi-grade salmon outside of the fish, with no fishing or fish farming required,” Wildtype co-founder Aryé Elfenbein told vegconomist last year. “With the opening of our new pilot plant in San Francisco, we’re scaling up to bring that option to people very soon.”
Committed to more alternatives
Pokeworks already offers a variety of plant-based menu options made from fresh vegetables, tofu and vegan sauces. But the brand’s efforts to align with OmniFoods and WildType indicate a strong interest in making alternative protein a more prominent part of the menu.
“This partnership with OmniFoods is very exciting as we continue to find more plant-based alternatives that can be added to our customers’ favorite bowls at Pokeworks,” said Steve Heeley, CEO of Pokeworks. “With sustainability as one of our core values, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to meet consumer demand that are both good for the planet and provide healthy options for mindful consumers.”