KARANA, Asia’s first whole-plant based meat brand, is proud to be launching in Hong Kong after the successful unveiling of its first product – whole-plant pork made from young jackfruit in Singapore earlier this year. Delicious and sustainable, KARANA’s whole-plant pork offers a food that you can feel good about eating more of, as it’s tasty, healthy and also better for the planet. 

KARANA knows everything about their natural, sustainable ingredients – and about the people who grew them. Their first product is made of jackfruit, an existing resource that grows across Asia and is often underutilised and wasted. KARANA works with smallholder farms in Sri Lanka, helping to turn this food waste into a valued food – and income – source. The jackfruit is transformed into a ‘pork’ alternative that comes shredded or minced. 

Unlike other meat alternatives, KARANA is minimally processed using only 4 ingredients: young jackfruit, canola oil, sea salt, and natural flavors. This means there are no protein texturates, isolates, or concentrates in their products. Fully plant-based, KARANA is also free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours – because they believe that good food should not include any of these nasties. 

KARANA first made an appearance in Hong Kong for the Earth Day [22nd April] pop-up by Chef Michael Smith and Peggy Chan at Shane Osborn’s Arcane, where it was presented as a jackfruit mapo tofu to much acclaim

Now, KARANA is partnering with six leading Hong Kong restaurants across a variety of cuisines, including Chaat at Rosewood; Sip Song by Maximal Concepts; Emerald in Central; all Beef & Liberty outlets; all Elephant Grounds outlets; Cantonese restaurant Cheung Kung Koon in Causeway Bay, and Deliveroo brand Hot N’ Meen.

Chef Manav Tuli of Chaat, who is using KARANA in his Baked Samosa, one of his signature dishes inspired by the famous street food from Hyderabad, states: “I have always been in favour of plant-based meat substitutes – and I think KARANA delivers this particularly well. Also, I grew up eating jackfruit and it has always been one of my favourite vegetables – so we hope to deliver something great with the KARANA-based Baked Samosa.” 

Kevin Poon, Co-Founder of Elephant Grounds says, “We have always liked the idea of eating clean and the plant-based life is one that caters to us and the next generation. Featuring a whole-plant product such as KARANA on our menus is a delicious and innovative way for us to continue to make the move towards this lifestyle.”

Born and raised in Hong Kong, KARANA co-Founder Blair is passionate about revolutionising the global food system, particularly in Asia, through this healthy and delicious whole-plant alternative to meat. 

Blair Crichton explains: “Nature makes plenty of plants with incredible meat-like textures, and for our first ingredient, we zeroed in on the king of meaty plants: the jackfruit. It is a massively underutilised resource, with an excellent sustainability profile and great potential in a wide variety of dishes. There were jackfruit products on the market, but we knew we could make them taste even better and bring out jackfruit’s potential for a strikingly meat-like texture, so we got to work on researching and developing Karana’s first products.”

Dan Riegler, KARANA’s co-founder, spent years working in agricultural supply chains in developing markets in South-East Asia, and across a wide range of start-ups in agriculture, food tech, and fintech.

Dan adds: “Sustainability has never been more important, especially when it comes to food, and our first base ingredient was carefully chosen with this in mind. Jackfruit is an extremely efficient crop with high yields and low water usage making it friendly to smallholder farmers. It is typically grown intercropped, promoting biodiversity. 60% of jackfruit is currently being wasted, a contributor to global warming, so with KARANA we’ll be reducing that wastage, while working with farmers to support the local economy.”

Ultimately, KARANA does things very differently, imagining a revolutionary new way by innovating around biodiverse ingredients found in Asia. By enhancing their naturally meat-like textures and blending them with new food technologies, the result is something authentic, original and delicious – an inspiring new way of eating whole-plant ingredients.

KARANA launched in Singapore in January 2021 in partnership with six leading restaurants including Candlenut, Butcher Boy, Open Farm Community, Morsels, Atout and Grain Traders. KARANA is planning to launch its retail offer of ready-to-cook dim sum products in Asia in the 2nd half of 2021.