Chinese fast food giant Dicos, famous for its fried chicken, has just added the plant-based JUST Egg developed by San Francisco-based food tech Eat Just to its menu. Now available at more than 500 locations across China, the folded pre-baked JUST Egg will replace the chain’s conventional animal-based egg patty, marking an industry first and a signal of the strong demand from mass consumers in the country.
Announced on Wednesday (January 6), China’s KFC-rival fast food chain Dicos has swapped out chicken eggs for Eat Just’s famous 100% plant-based folded egg made from mung beans. Over 500 outlets of Dicos across the country, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin and Hainan province, will now serve the JUST Egg in three breakfast burgers, three bagel sandwiches and its Western-style breakfast plate.
It marks the first time a QSR chain has displaced an animal-based product for a plant-based one across multiple staple menu offerings – a huge feat for the San Francisco food tech, especially given that Dicos is one of China’s biggest fast food giants considered to be on the same ranks as majors like McDonald’s with its 2,600-strong storefront presence across the country.
The move by Dicos is also testament to the growing pressure from mainstream consumers for more plant-based options, a trend that has seen a significant uptick since the coronavirus pandemic, which has raised consumer awareness on health, food safety and the environmental impact of the animal meat industry.
“The introduction of JUST Egg at Dicos is a product and brand upgrade based on consumers’ increasing interest in nutrition, healthier diets and environmental awareness,” said Xie Yahui, chief marketing officer at Dicos. “Adding JUST Egg to our core breakfast menu offerings will allow customers to experience JUST Egg in a variety of ways. We look forward to seeing the consumer response and will plan future menu offerings around it.”
“We’ve witnessed the excitement consumers in China have for JUST Egg, all driven by a generational move to healthier, more sustainable foods. We’re grateful to partner with Dicos on this global plant-based protein milestone,” commented Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, who have already been riding on a high after it won the race to become the first in the world to gain regulatory approval for its cultured chicken product in Singapore, which is cultivated using real animal cells instead of plant-based ingredients.
The introduction of JUST Egg at Dicos is a product and brand upgrade based on consumers’ increasing interest in nutrition, healthier diets and environmental awareness.Xie Yahui, Chief Marketing Officer, Dicos
While Eat Just may be the first foreign plant-based brand to land on Dicos’ menu, the fast food behemoth has already under its belt a partnership with homegrown startup Starfield to capture the growing plant-based market. Since November, Dicos has been serving a plant-based chicken burger made with Starfield’s alternative across all its stores nationwide.
It represented the first large-scale nationwide partnership between a local food tech and fast food chain in mainland China, following previous limited-time trials launched by Yum China-operated KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell with foreign players like Beyond Meat, Cargill and OmniPork in select locations. Starbucks China also revealed an all-vegetarian menu last year in collaboration with U.S. and Hong Kong players Oatly, Beyond Meat and OmniPork.
We’ve witnessed the excitement consumers in China have for JUST Egg, all driven by a generational move to healthier, more sustainable foods. We’re grateful to partner with Dicos on this global plant-based protein milestone.Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder & CEO, Eat Just
For Eat Just, the collaboration with Dicos takes it another step forward in its Asia-focused growth strategy. The food tech has already forged a partnership with a consortium led by investment management firm Proterra to build a new production facility in Singapore, making it the company’s first-ever Asia-based production site, and has opened a Future Food Studio in Shanghai to showcase plant-based cooking with a group of renowned chefs.
“We’re seeing more opportunities for collaboration and innovation from an increasing number of food producers and potential partners in China and across Asia,” Tetrick told Green Queen at the time of the launch of Eat Just’s Shanghai studio.
“China, in particular, will account for a large percentage of our future growth because consumer demand there is being driven by a desire for healthier, safer and more sustainable food products — both for the individual and collective benefit.”
Lead image courtesy of Dicos / Eat Just / designed by Green Queen Media.