Beyond Meat, the world’s biggest meat substitutes maker, announced on Monday that has officially entered the Chinese market through a partnership with Starbucks.
The US coffee chain introduced a plant-based menu featuring pasta, lasagna, and wraps made by Beyond Meat’s alternative beef product this week, with prices ranging from RMB 59 (USD 8.33) to RMB 69 (USD 9.74). The new menu has been available in more than 3,300 Starbucks locations across China since Wednesday, according to a statement from Beyond Meat.
Starbucks’ new offerings also include dishes from plant-based pork alternative brand Omnipork, and beverages with oat milk provided by Swedish brand Oatly.
“Today we mark an important milestone as Beyond Meat launches in China, advancing our goal of increasing accessibility to plant-based meat globally,” said Beyond Meat Founder and CEO Ethan Brown.
To better connect with Chinese consumers, Beyond Meat has created a website in Chinese and launched official accounts on popular social media channels Weibo and WeChat, said the company.
The partnership with Starbucks marks Beyond Meat’s official entry in China, where the market for alternative meat products remains untapped compared to the US. The company was looking to expand its production to Asia by the end of 2020 as part of its strategy to sell its products in China, Reuters reported.
California-based rival Impossible Foods, the maker of Burger King’s hit plant-based Impossible Whopper, has reportedly been in early talks with Chinese firms as it also expects to enter the local market.
Some Chinese companies are eyeing the large Chinese market as well. Artificial meat startup Starfield, which provides alternative meat products to merchants in China, including pizza chain Papa Johns and tea brand Nayuki, has taken in tens of millions of RMB in a round of financing in March.
Beyond Meat’s early investor New Crop Capital and its China-focused investment partner Dao Foods International have participated in this round, along with Joy Capital and Matrix Partners China.
Also, Chinese firm Shuangta marketed China’s first pea protein-based meat mooncakes in September 2019. The product, was based on pea protein tissues extracted from starch, said Shuangta, adding that it has also started to provide pea protein to Beyond Meat.
The global alternative meat market is predicted to hit an annual value of USD 140 billion, about 10% of the USD 1.4 trillion worldwide meat market predicted in the next decade, according to a Barclay report.