CHINA – Beyond Meat Inc., a U.S. plant-based meat substitutes producer, has signed a deal to build two production facilities in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, as the plant-based meat products maker ramps up its focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market.
The move makes it the first foreign plant-based protein maker to establish a major production facility in China, the company said. It also gives Beyond Meat an edge over rival Impossible Foods Inc., whose “magic ingredient” of heme — made from genetically modified yeast — requires government approval in China.
The facility, to be located in the Jiaxing Economic and Technological Development Zone that’s close to the megacity of Shanghai.
“Beyond Meat Inc will be the first multinational company focused solely on plant-based meat production to bring its own major production facility into China,”Beyond Meat
Beyond Meat already has deals for its products to be sold in Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut outlets in China. The world’s second-largest economy will be a production and research and development center for the company, as well as a “major market in the years to come,” said the statement.
Trial production is expected to begin within months and reach full output in early 2021, the company said, as it looks to expand into Asia, where alternative meat products are yet to experience the popularity boom seen in the United States and parts of Europe.
“Beyond Meat Inc will be the first multinational company focused solely on plant-based meat production to bring its own major production facility into China,” the company said in its statement.
The move comes as plant-based meat makers, including rival Impossible Foods, seek to tap into the potentially lucrative mainland China market.
In April, Starbucks Corp said it would roll out a plant-based food and beverage menu in China, launching Beyond Meat and Oatly products in the country as it was recovering from coronavirus shutdowns.
The recent outbreak of African Swine Fever in China has driven up the price of pork and primed consumers for alternatives, and if the American companies can win over even a small fraction of the country’s 1.4 billion people, the opportunity is massive.
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat has a mission of building meat directly from plants, an innovation that enables consumers to experience the taste, texture and other sensory attributes of popular animal-based meat products while enjoying the nutritional and environmental benefits of eating its plant-based meat products.
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