New pea protein-based meat mooncakes sell out instantly in China

Companies seek to catch up with the alt-meat trend while overseas competitors face regulatory barriers restricting access to the market.

Photo: Stock.tuchong.com

Chinese food company Shuangta (“Double Tower” in Chinese), whose core business is cellophane noodles, marketed China’s first pea protein-based meat mooncakes earlier this week ahead of the country’s Mid-Autumn Festival that sold out instantly.

One thousand sets of the pea protein-based meat mooncake were sold out minutes after the release Thursday morning at Shuangta’s online store, according to the company. Yet, more details including how many pieces a set contains and when the mooncakes, a traditional Chinese delicacy for the mid-autumn festival, will be relaunched, were not provided when contacted by KrASIA.

The Chinese food producer has developed the alt-meat mooncakes from pea protein tissues extracted from starch, the company announced on Wednesday. It also claimed that it has started to provide pea protein to the U.S. based firm Beyond Meat, the world’s biggest meat substitutes maker.

Shuangta’s meatless mooncake launch comes after the stock price of several China-listed food companies surged earlier this year, after Beyond Meat’s blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) in May. Beyond Meat’s stock price promptly shot up to USD 240 in July, nearly ten times its IPO.

Food-tech firms like Beyond Meat and its main challenger Impossible Foods produce fake meat products that taste like real flesh, by using materials including soy, pea, and mung bean, and they have grown to shake up the traditional animal meat industry, market observers say.

The potential huge market in China has grabbed attention from investors and alt-meat international producers. The world’s most populous nation accounts for nearly 25% of global meat consumption.

Impossible Foods, the maker of Burger King’s hit plant-based Impossible Whopper, has reportedly been in early talks with Chinese local firms, as it expects to enter China’s mainland market.

However, it may face regulatory hurdles due to Beijing’s cautious attitude toward genetically modified (GMO) crops. GMO-derived soy leghemoglobin, also known as “heme”, is Impossible’s key ingredient to make its products taste more like meat.

The global alt-meat market is predicted to hit an annual USD 140 billion value, about 10% of the USD 1.4 trillion world meat market in the next decade, a Barclay report showed.