TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After three years of research, Lypid launched a new plant-based, vegan pork belly product, appealing to a growing market for cruelty-free and eco-friendly food products.
Lypid, a 20-person strong food technology start-up based in Taipei, targets a growing food segment that primarily identifies itself as vegetarian, or flexitarian with a preference for plant-based food. On Tuesday morning (April 18), Lypid unveiled it’s newest innovation, serving as a major ingredient in vegan macaroni and cheese, as well as a pizza topping.
Made from 100% plant-based ingredients and patented PhytoFat technology (special encapsulated technology for canola or olive oil), Lypid’s pork belly has a juicy, smoky flavor simulating real meat. In addition to taste and texture, it is high in protein and free of antibiotics.
Other health benefits abound, such as lower cholesterol as well as being 85% lower in saturated fat, 39% lower in calories, and 69% lower in sodium, when compared to traditional pork bacon.
A special formulation helps Lypid's pork belly cook and sizzle just like traditional pork, making it a perfect replacement for a diverse array of recipes and cooking scenarios, such as sauteing, frying, and baking.
Lypid's plant-based pork belly is an ingredient in this vegan mac & cheese and salad. (Taiwan News photo)
"Despite the growing popularity of plant-based diets, the lack of whole-cut meat alternatives remains a challenge. Most plant-based products currently available are in a ground form, which can limit their versatility in recipes and dining experiences," said Dr. Huang Jen-Yu (黃仁佑), co-founder and CEO of Lypid in a company press release.
Lypid's pork belly provides a new option that offers a wider range of possibilities to fill the gap in the alternative meat market.
“We wanted to make a plant-based pork product because it is one of the most popular forms of meat. Pork belly is popular in Chinese culture as well as different cultures as bacon or lardon.No one has been able to simulate it yet, as it is usually too dry and not juicy enough, so this was the challenge we tried to overcome with our new technology,” said Huang.
Huang says his company got a boost last year when they were invited to attend the UN’s COP27 event in 2023, addressing the issues of global climate change and the damaging impact of agri-business.
“We want to use materials that are better for the earth. We were fortunate to work with the Louisa coffee chain last year to introduce our plant-based patty and we believe that the next 6 months will also be very successful,” said Huang.
Lypid’s pork belly was debuted at Baganhood, an upscale vegan diner in eastern Taipei. Huang said it was one of his favorite restaurants and one of the early supporters of his company’s food innovations.
“Most hamburgers and other meats are 40% fat. We try to achieve this with our PhytoFat to make plant-based meat more tasty. We are very proud of breakthroughs in four different areas: heat resistance, mixing with other materials, taste, and better health.
For the past year, Huang has been touring the world with food innovations, most recently gaining accolades from San Francisco Marriott Marquis' Executive Chef David Hollands and Executive Sous Chef Bernardita Gotis, who served “adobo garlic fried rice” made with Lypid’s pork belly.
Huang’s classmate at Cornell, Michelle Lee (李博婷) served as co-founder of the company and CTO. She says the launch of Lypid’s pork belly is just the beginning of more food innovations to come.
“We wanted to start with this thick cut meat product because nothing like it exists in the market and there’s a lot of potential in different forms such as lardon or even proscuito, says Lee.
She adds that all ingredients in the product comply with standards set forth by Wholefoods to allow inclusion into this U.S. grocery store chain, one of the toughest standards to meet in the world and only rivaled by Japanese retailers.
Lee is also optimistic about the company’s foray into other markets such as bakery products, which require other liquid oils for the production of everything from croissants to quiche and other savory items.
In these applications, the use of Lypid’s PhytoFat can make food healthier and better for the environment, a mutually beneficial outcome for everyone involved.