May 24, 2022
South Korea’s Pulmuone Food & Culture, the catering arm of food manufacturer Pulmuone, has opened a vegan restaurant called Plantude in Seoul.
Located at the COEX mall in the trendy Gangnam district, the 47-seat restaurant offers 13 dishes like the Bulgogi Deopbap, a barbecue-grilled marinated vegetable beef rice dish. Plantude has been certified by the Korea Vegan Assessment and Certification Agency.
Having previously focused on traditional Korean foods such as tofu, seaweed and kimchi, Pulmuone announced last year that it would launch 20 new herbal products under the Plantspired brand. These include meat alternatives, as well as high-protein, low-carb products. Additionally, Pulmuone is working with BlueNalu to eventually bring cultured seafood to the South Korean market.
Soaring plants in South Korea
Interest in plant-based diets is growing rapidly in South Korea – it was reported in February that the country’s alternative meat market had grown 35% year-on-year. Over the past ten years, South Korea’s plant-based industry has tripled and a fifth of the population is now reducing their meat consumption.
According to the Korean Vegetarian Union, the number of vegans in the country increased from 150,000 in 2008 to 1.5 million in 2018. Research suggests millennials are driving the growth of plant-based diets and that “vegan zones” are appearing in large supermarkets to meet growing demand.
“It’s an inevitable trend. People now care about the environment and animal rights, and they are more careful about what they eat,” said Lee Won-bok, head of the Vegetarian Union of Korea.