Global coffee giant Starbucks has teamed up with leading vegan foodtech players Beyond Meat, Omnipork and Oatly to launch a brand new plant-based menu in China. The new items will be available across all 3,300+ Starbucks locations across China from today (April 21) onwards, as the country begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Starbucks has just announced that it will roll out a brand new plant-based lunch menu named GOOD GOOD across its China locations starting from today. The new menu will feature vegan meat and dairy substitutes from leading plant-based food techs including Silicon Valley-based Beyond Meat’s plant-based beef alternative, Hong Kong-based Green Monday’s groundbreaking vegan pork mince Omnipork, and Swedish oat milk brand Oatly.
It comes as the coronavirus pandemic has eased in the country, with shops now beginning to reopen from the shutdown and daily life resuming in many regions.
Speaking to Green Queen, David Yeung, the founder CEO and of Green Monday said: “Starbucks China is setting a great example for the entire F&B industry on the future of food with this nationwide blockbuster collaboration with Beyond Meat, OmniPork and Oatly. This is a partnership that is almost one year in the making. At the wake of China recovering from the pandemic, this carries extra impact as a key watershed moment towards a healthier and more sustainable food system.”
Starbucks’ new plant-based menu items include Beyond Beef Pesto Pasta, Beyond Beef Spicy & Sour Wrap, Beyond Beef Lasagna, an Omnipork Vietnamese-style noodle salad, an Omnipork mushroom-sauce grain bowl as well as a range of non-dairy beverages and lattes made from Oatly vegan oat milk. While the new menu is vegetarian, it is not vegan, as the dishes contain eggs and dairy products.
It isn’t the first time that Green Monday’s Omnipork has landed in China, with the group launching its pork analogue product on Alibaba-run online retail site Tmall last year. Green Monday had also previously partnered with a number of restaurant chains in China, including rolling out a limited-edition vegan Omnipork taco across the country’s Taco Bell outlets.
The launch marks an important step for Beyond Meat, which has been eyeing its market share into Asia and China more specifically in recent months. “Today we mark an important milestone as Beyond Meat launches in China, advancing our goal of increasing accessibility to plant-based protein globally,” said Beyond Meat’s founder and CEO Ethan Brown in a statement.
Oatly has experienced skyrocketing sales in the past year, and this news marks yet another achievement by the brand. After taking Hong Kong by storm and being regularly served up in the city’s two largest coffee chains –Starbucks and Pacific Coffee – Oatly first landed in mainland China last year to meet consumer demand. Meanwhile in the United States, while the two largest dairy firms filed for bankruptcy, Oatly recorded astonishing 636% growth in sales in the country.
Starbucks itself has been increasingly heading in the plant-based direction for a number of months, announcing in January earlier this year that it will “push” plant-based milks in order to reduce its carbon footprint and become “resource-positive”. Following its highly-publicised pledge to become more eco-friendly, the company ditched the additional fee for drinks that use plant-based milks – dubbed the “vegan tax” – in a later decision made in March.
The latest move to launch an exclusive plant-based menu highlights the significant demand for more meat-free and non-dairy choices amongst consumers, especially in China in the wake of the pandemic that has reignited concerns about health, food security and safety on top of existing environmental worries about the impact of consuming animal products. With the plant-based Chinese market already growing at an annual rate of 14.3% since 2014, analysts in a recent report said they are expecting even greater consumer demand and investor appetite to come in the country’s vegan food industry.
April 28 2020 Update: This article was updated to specify that the new Starbucks menu items are vegetarian and contain egg and dairy products.
Lead image courtesy of Starbucks / Green Monday / Beyond Meat / Oatly / designed by Green Queen Media.