Shinsegae Food You Are What You Eat

© Shinsegae Food

Company News

Korea’s Shinsegae Says “You Are What You Eat” With New Vegan Restaurant and Brand

South Korean food producer and catering provider Shinsegae Food has announced it is launching a new vegan restaurant and brand called You Are What You Eat. According to Pulse News, the fast-casual restaurant will open this month in the Gangnam district of the country’s capital, Seoul. It will reportedly offer options such as pasta, salads, and sandwiches, along with a range of other meals and desserts. The menu items will also be available in the form of ready meals for customers to take home. Shinsegae Food recently trialed the new concept with a food truck at the World Knowledge Forum. The truck served options made with the company’s plant-based Better Meat products, including kimchi fried rice with canned ham and pizza bread with sausages. Forum …


HN Novatech has secured funding to commercialise its flagship seaweed-extracted heme for plant-based meat

© HN Novatech

Investments & Finance

HN Novatech Secures $4 Million for Seaweed-Extracted Heme Meat Alternatives

South Korean food ingredient company HN Novatech announces it has secured $4 million in a Series-A bridge round to commercialize its flagship ingredient ACOM-S, a seaweed-extracted heme for plant-based meat applications. The round was led by VC Logan Ventures, which said it was partnering with HN Novatech to meet the global demand for clean-label meat alternatives. HN Novatech focuses on developing healthy, sustainable, and cutting-edge food ingredient alternatives and has filed 19 patents to date. It claims to be the first company in the world to extract heme-like molecules from seaweed and develop meat alternatives, such as burger patties (Korean BBQ beef), bulgogi, and sausages. Last month, in an event organized by the Singapore Tembusutech Innovation and KILSA Global, HN Novatech launched its seaweed-extracted heme for …




Retail & E-Commerce

UNLIMEAT Furthers its Presence in US Natural and Organic Stores as K-Food Continues to Trend

South Korean plant-based meat brand UNLIMEAT expands its US retail footprint with increased presence in the Natural and Organic Market, as interest in K-Pop and K-Foods continues to trend globally. The fast-growing Asian company announces today the launch of its plant-based offerings into a list of natural and organic stores such as Mollie Stone’s Markets, Berkeley Bowl, Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins in California, and Good Earth Markets in Utah.  The products introduced by UNLIMEAT in Natural & Organic stores consist of three SKUs: plant-based Korean BBQ; pulled pork; and Mandu, a large Korean-style dumpling. UNLIMEAT states that the expansion into said natural & organic stores marks its most significant achievement since its debut last winter into Albertsons, one of the largest supermarket chains in …


Cult Foods


Investments & Finance

CULT Food Science Partners with South Korean Startup ‘Everything But’ to Bring Cell-Cultivated Chicken for Pet Food to US market

CULT Food Science Corp., an investment platform focused on cellular agriculture, announces it has signed an MoU with Korean pet foods startup Everything But to supply cell-cultivated chicken for its stable of sustainable pet food brands. CULT claims that the resulting cell-cultivated chicken products will be among the world’s first cell-cultivated chicken pet products brought to market. Founded by veterinarians and scientists, Everything But is a venture-backed pet food company based in Seoul, described as the first-ever Asian cell-based pet food company. On inspection, Yoonchan Hwang, founder of Everything But, was formerly the senior manager at Seawith, a position he stepped down from two months ago. “Our partnership with CULT transcends a mere business collaboration. Both Everything But and CULT share a profound vision for …


Simple Planet makes cultivated meat powder for f&&B applications

© Simple Planet

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

South Korea’s Simple Planet Reveals Plans to Bring Cultivated Meat Powder to North America

Simple Planet, a biotech company based in South Korea that produces cell-based food ingredients, has revealed plans to venture into the global market by establishing branches in North America in the second half of 2023.  Instead of growing pieces of meat or seafood, Simple Planet produces cultivated meat powder and cultivated unsaturated fat. Its products are designed to improve the nutritional profile of foods while enhancing their flavor. They can be used in multiple F&B applications, including senior and infant foods. This versatility will allow these ingredients to enter the market more easily than cultivated finished products. The company says that its latest progress in scaling its cell culture platform and cell organization technology has led to this overseas expansion plan. Additionally, the recent approvals to sell …


JUST Egg X Unlimeat kimbab

JUST Egg X Unlimeat

Egg Alternatives

JUST Egg & UNLIMEAT to Co-Produce Innovative Vegan Egg Products for Asian Market

South Korea’s UNLIMEAT announces it is to introduce new plant-based egg products for the Asian market in collaboration with US alt egg leader JUST Egg. The two companies will together create co-branded innovations based on the JUST Egg folded egg format to include UNLIMEAT’s plant-based meat and cheese products. JUST Egg first entered the Korean market in summer 2021 as the country began to experience egg shortages, initially rolling out into leading bakery café franchises Paris Baguette and Paris Croissant. Eggs are ubiquitous in South Korean cuisine, as with Japanese, and are added to a majority of traditional Korean dishes. Vegan kimbap & breakfast sandwich coming to Korea One of the most popular foods in Korea which incorporates egg, is kimbap (also often anglicized as …




Meat- and Fish Alternatives

UNLIMEAT to Further Expand its Portfolio With Plant-Based Tuna

UNLIMEAT’s CEO and founder, Keum Chae Min, confirms that the company is preparing for the launch of its new plant-based tuna products, which will be available in three different flavors. The South Korea-based company is most known for its plant-based Pulled Pork and Korean BBQ lines, which are sold in 1,500 Albertsons stores across the US and were recently promoted through an LA Food Truck Tour. In May, the company further announced a partnership with the Korean-Style corn dog shop Two Hands to launch a vegan option containing UNLIMEAT’s vegan sausage. The plant-based meat company has now announced its first step into fish alternatives with a line of plant-based tuna products, as interest in alt seafood continues to rise globally. The new range, said to …


Starbucks Korea launches alt meat range

© Starbucks Korea

Food Service

Starbucks South Korea Launches Alt Meat Dishes, Sells Over 100,000 in Two Weeks

At the beginning of the month, Starbucks Korea introduced three new menu options containing plant-based meat. Now, the chain has revealed that over 100,000 products from the range have been sold in just two weeks. The meat alternatives themselves are fully plant-based, made by Shinsegae Foods’ Better Meat. However, some of the menu options containing them also appear to include dairy or eggs, so vegans and those with allergies should exercise caution. The new dishes are: Plant-based meatball soup Plant-based meat and egg foccacia Plant-based meatball and cheese sandwich. Expanding menu choices Starbucks Korea launched its first plant-based menu in 2021 in an attempt to become more sustainable. The menu featured four items — chocolate fudge cake, potato bagels, Mexican-style rice burritos, and sweet chili …


The CellMEAT team

© CellMEAT

Investments & Acquisitions

Korea’s CellMEAT Raises $13M After Developing Cultivated Shrimp & Caviar

South Korea-based cultivated seafood company CellMEAT has raised 17.4 billion KRW ($13 million) in Series A funding. The round was led by previous investors BNK Venture Investment, Ryukyung PSG Asset Management, and Strong Ventures. Three new investors — NH Venture Investment, Genting Ventures, and Daewoodang Healthcare — also participated. It comes as CellMEAT prepares to officially open a mass production center in Seoul later this month, after developing cell culture technology that makes large-scale production economically viable. The company is notable for being one of the first worldwide to develop a serum-free cell culture medium, helping to bring down the cost of production while removing the ethical issues associated with fetal bovine serum. Prioritizing technology development CellMEAT previously raised $8.1 million in a funding round …


Shinsegae Foods / No Brand Burger introduces the Better Burger

© Shinsegae Foods

Fast Food

Shinsegae’s No Brand Burger Chain Introduces the Better Burger as First of “Numerous” Alternative Launches in Korea

South Korea: Shinsegae Food, the food business arm of retail giant Shinsegae Group, announces the launch of the Better Burger at its No Brand Burger chain. The burger is created with its ground Better Meat and features fully plant-based cheese, bolognese sauce, and buns, which were all developed in-house. Interestingly, the company is touting the launch as a world’s first. Shinsegae claims this is the “first whose four major ingredients are all plant based, including ‘Better Bun’ […], a patty made with ‘Better Meat’, [and] recently developed veggie cheese and sauce. Among burger franchises around the world, No Brand Burger’s ‘Better Burger’ is the first burger even whose cheese is also plant-based.” This is a bold claim which is debatable, since even the McPlant is …


Ellen Kim, Nasoya

Ellen Kim, image courtesy of Nasoya


Nasoya: “We Really Cracked the Code to Create a Plant-Based Steak That Tastes Great”

We have been following the launches and developments of Nasoya since its parent company Pulmuone entered the plant-based meat category in 2021. The South Korean leader launched the Plantspired line under the Nasoya brand the following year, which has seen huge success (with sales up by an impressive 800% in October of last year) and multiple flavor extensions for the notable Plantspired steak which was featured in our recent roundup of popular plant-based steaks around the world. Nasoya is certainly one to watch, in our humble opinion. Marketing Director Ellen Kim kindly took the time to tell us more about the brand and its plans for the future. Can you please introduce Nasoya? Nasoya is the nation’s leading brand of tofu and Asian-inspired plant-based foods, …


© Loving Earth

Market & Trends

13.6% CAGR Expected for South Korean Vegan Chocolate Market as Plant-Based Diets Grow in Popularity

A report by Expert Market Research has predicted that the South Korean vegan chocolate market will grow with a significant CAGR of 13.6% through to 2028. The market is being driven by high rates of lactose intolerance in the country, which is leading manufacturers to develop dairy-free alternatives. Rising demand for healthy, clean-label products is also a factor; some consumers are opting for plant-based chocolate as it is cholesterol-free. Meanwhile, many younger consumers (Millennials and Gen Z) are increasingly aware of animal welfare issues and the environmental impact of animal agriculture. Rising disposable income and improved living standards are also boosting sales of vegan chocolate. As a result, an increasing number of Korean facilities are producing plant-based chocolate, and many manufacturers are expanding their ranges. …


© heimish IG

Retail & E-Commerce

Korean Vegan Beauty Brand Heimish Expands US Presence With Amazon Launch

Oneand, the parent company of Korean vegan beauty brand heimish, has announced it will expand its presence in the US market by launching on Amazon.  Heimish’s portfolio includes skin cleansers, hydrogel eye patches, hydrating toners, moisturizers, and cosmetics, all made without animal-derived ingredients. The products use plant-based ingredients such as matcha, moringa, and algae, aiming to respect the skin’s natural pH. Heimish products have previously obtained France’s EVE VEGAN certification, renowned globally for its rigorous inspections and distinctive factory audits.  “After the success of our All Clean Balm and All Clean Green Foam products at Walmart in the United States, we are now expanding our market presence through the Amazon channel. We anticipate that because heimish offers vegan beauty products certified by France’s EVE VEGAN, our …


Korea's CellQua secures funds for "next-gen" cell-based fisheries

© CellQua

Cultivated Seafood

South Korea’s CellQua Secures Investment for “Next-Gen” Cell-Based Fisheries

CellQua, a cultivated seafood startup from South Korea, has secured undisclosed seed funding from Sopoong Ventures, a social impact-focused VC that supports climate and agrifood tech entrepreneurs in South Korea and Southeast Asia. “We are a team of experts in fishery science and computer technology, dedicated to transforming the industry and creating a better future. We are pioneering the way in the next generation of fisheries,” says CellQua. With the newly raised capital, CellQua plans to build a system to automate and simplify its cultivated seafood manufacturing to enable a better research environment. Additionally, it will use the funds to grow its workforce. Cell-based fishing without FBS Founded in August 2021 by Sangyoon Lee, aPhD. in Fisheries Science, and Sangyup Lee, a computer vision engineer, CellQua …


Fairs & Events

K-Vegan Fair Returns to Seoul as Korean Interest in Veganism Continues to Thrive

Korea Vegan Fair is set to return to Seoul from August 10-12 this year, located at Hall B in the city’s Coex Center. A range of plant-based foods will be exhibited, including meat alternatives, bakery products, desserts, ingredients, beverages, and more. Cruelty-free products such as cosmetics, fashion, and homewares will also be on display. Additionally, environmental innovations relating to renewable energy, recycling, upcycling, and electric or hydrogen vehicles will be showcased. Several organizations will have a presence at the event, including those working in fields such animal welfare, environmentalism, and vegan certification. Submissions are still open for those wishing to exhibit. Rapidly growing market As the South Korean vegan market rapidly expands, The Vegan Society recently reported that almost 3000 products had been registered with …


© Image courtesy of TissenBioFarm

Cultivated Meat

TissenBioFarm Unveils 10 kg Cultivated Meat Prototype at South Korea’s First Cell Ag Hub

Korean food tech startup TissenBioFarm has unveiled a 10 kg cultivated meat prototype at the inauguration of South Korea’s first cellular agriculture hub, the North Gyeongsang Cellular Agriculture Industry Support Center.  The 2,309 meter square center, built with a 9 billion KRW investment, aims to develop biomaterials and support companies operating at the general industrial complex in Uiseong Bio Valley, announced North Gyeongsang Province (Gyeongsangbuk-do). In February, North Gyeongsang Province, local governments together with stakeholders from the cultivated meat industry signed an agreement to foster cellular agriculture industrialization. Advancing high tech Around 200 guests, including Cheol-Woo Lee, Governor of North Gyeongsang Province, universities, research institutes, and private companies, including Han Wonil, CEO of TissenBioFarm, attended the opening ceremony that took place on the 28th of March. The four-floor …


Armored Fresh cubes close up

© Armored Fresh

Retail & E-Commerce

Armored Fresh Opens Store for Cheeses Made With “World-Changing” Fermentation Tech

Armored Fresh, a subsidiary of the South Korean food and beverage leader formerly known as Yangyoo and now rebranded also to ‘Armored Fresh’, launches a US-wide ecommerce platform to “deliver its vegan almond cheese to the masses.” The almond cheeses are created with a “world-changing technology” that ferments plant-based ingredients using various probiotics, resulting in a flavor and tanginess similar to natural cheese, according to the company. Perfect for those who prefer animal-based cheese Speaking to vegconomist, founder and CEO, Rudy Yoo, explains: “Armored Fresh’s vegan cheese is made by fermenting almond milk using a fermentation technique that includes plant-based probiotics derived from natural sources, resulting in a flavor and tanginess similar to natural cheese. This process has been perfected to match the texture and …


Vegan Society CEO

Steve Hamon © The Vegan Society


Vegan Society CEO Visits South Korea as Country’s Vegan Market Surges

Vegan Society CEO Steve Hamon is planning a trip to South Korea, as the country’s demand for plant-based products grows rapidly. 250 South Korean brands have now collectively registered almost 3000 products with the Vegan Society Trademark. As part of his visit, Hamon will meet trademark holders and attend events — including speaking at the country’s largest vegan exhibition, VeganFiesta. It is hoped that this will encourage more brands to register with the trademark. “The vegan certification system of the Vegan Trademark helps consumers easily check and purchase vegan products by giving credibility to their vegan status. As The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark is an international mark, it works as a reliable indicator of the safety of our products and ingredients to consumers around the world,” …


Tourism & Travel

Korean Air Launches Vegan Inflight Meals Inspired by Traditional Temple Cuisine

Korean Air introduces a new range of vegan inflight meals across all international routes departing from Korea. Now travelers can enjoy a variety of vegan inflight meals inspired by traditional temple cuisine made with fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients.  The launch of the Korean-Style vegan options responds to the growing vegan population and environmental concerns around carbon emissions, said the carrier. Korean cuisine dishes Different Korean vegan dishes will be served depending on the route and season. For passengers in all classes, Korean Air chefs created dishes such as steamed barley rice with burdock, roasted shiitake mushrooms, mung bean jelly salad, and roasted tofu with plum salsa sauce. Prestige and first class passengers can additionally enjoy other creations, namely ginkgo nut porridge and roasted yam with soybean paste. Many …


Siita - one of the world's first zero-waste companies

© Siita

Cosmetics & Bodycare

Korean Vegan Skincare Brand Siita Named One of the World’s First Zero-Waste Companies

UN-hosted online platform The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network has recognised South Korea’s Siita as one of the only zero-waste companies in the world. In particular, the brand has been hailed for developing a method that rapidly decomposes plastic product containers. Siita’s empty containers are collected by the company and transformed into organic compost, which is then supplied to nearby farms. The process is said to be quicker and cheaper than other methods of breaking down plastics, taking just three months. In comparison, plastics can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill. “Siita is the only company in the world that decomposes products made of plastic. All Siita products are fully decomposed and return to nature,” said The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network. …