FamilyMart Taiwan has introduced new plant-based meals to ride consumer interest in plant-based fake meat. The two options are the non-vegetarian plant-based meat tomato spaghetti (植物肉番茄義大利麵) and the plant-based meat cheeseburger (植物肉起司堡) for those who can eat garlic, chives, onion, asafoetida etc.
However, in a country with strong vegetarian culture, the new plant-based menu has drawn flak from netizens for being highly misleading.
A netizen commented plant-based should be free from dairy and egg and afraid non-Mandarin speakers who are vegetarians would mistakenly consume it. The only English labelling on pack is the word “plant based.” The person suggested removing the English words from the label to avoid confusing consumers.
Another netizen lamented FamilyMart for coming up with a hybrid plant-based food instead of a 100% vegetarian menu. FamilyMart has clarified the plant-based meat menu is not for those who practice the strict vegan diet.
One netizen even highlighted the ingredients for having chicken fat.
However, there is also one netizen who mentioned this is a good choice for people who are not religious. The person added “Taiwan already has a lot of religious vegetarian food. It is great to have some more plant-based choices for people who aren’t Buddhist! Good job Family Mart!”
The saga above shows when plant-based meat enters into a new market, companies have to be mindful of the local practice to avoid stepping on the minefields.