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Beyond Meat has just unveiled its newest product for the Chinese market, a plant-based minced pork. Dubbed Beyond Pork, the vegan version of the country’s favourite meat will be available in Shanghai at partnering restaurants for a limited-time trial, as the Californian food tech continues to ramp up its presence in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
Announcing the news on Wednesday (November 19), Beyond Meat’s general manager for China Candy Chan said: “We’re excited to launch Beyond Pork in China, marking a milestone for Beyond Meat. We are not only launching an entirely new product innovation, but our first plant-based meat product created specifically for the Chinese market.”
It comes just two days after the company announced two new Beyond Burger products with an “even better nutritional profile”, slated to launch nationwide in the U.S. beginning early 2021, and a week after its large-scale partnership with Pizza Hut and the big reveal that it co-developed McDonald’s new McPlant line.
We’re excited to launch Beyond Pork in China, marking a milestone for Beyond Meat. We are not only launching an entirely new product innovation, but our first plant-based meat product created specifically for the Chinese market.Candy Chan, Beyond Meat General Manager for China
The new plant-based minced pork product will be available via foodservice at partnering local restaurants in Shanghai, which includes Egg, Moménti, RAC, Solo X and Tun Wang – representing some of the most up-and-coming spots in the city’s modern food scene. It will be on menus for a limited-time between November 18-24, with no details on when the product will be released through consumer channels or retail.
Beyond Pork, made from soybeans, rice and boasting 18.5 grams of protein per serving while slashing the saturated fat content by 50% compared to its animal counterpart, the product is aimed squarely at China’s rising group of food safety and health-conscious consumers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s African swine fever outbreak.
Unlike its previous pork substitute that came in a sausage-link form, the food tech says that its new pork mince analogue is particularly suited for a range of Asian dishes, from dumplings and spring rolls to topping ramen noodles and wonton, much like OmniPork, the vegan minced pork developed Hong Kong-based Green Monday’s OmniFoods.
Among the first to try Beyond Meat’s latest product on Wednesday’s VIP launch in Shanghai was Simon Briens, co-founder of restaurant partner RAC, who commented: “I thought the chef must have actually used traditional animal pork mince by mistake. I think our fans are going to be very impressed when they try it – I bet they won’t even be able to tell the difference either.”
It marks the latest move in the plant-based meat giant’s plan to double down its presence in mainland China, a major market where brands are keen to tap into with bullish predictions of the plant-based industry’s growth in the coming years.
I even thought the chef must have actually used traditional animal pork mince by mistake. I think our fans are going to be very impressed when they try it – I bet they won’t even be able to tell the difference either.Simon Briens, Co-Founder of RAC
Beyond Meat recently set up a new manufacturing facility in mainland China with ready access to Shanghai, which will open doors next year, soon after founder and CEO Ethan Brown pledged to establish a production footprint to aggressively expand into the region. The partnership was signed by Beyond Meat (Jiaxing) Food Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beyond Meat, and the facility will produce the brand’s plant-based beef, pork and chicken.
It already boasts a presence across all 3,300 Starbucks locations in China on the coffee giant’s vegetarian menu that also features Oatly and OmniPork, and has previously been piloted at Yum China-operated fast food chains including KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. On the retail side, Beyond Meat is available on Alibaba’s Freshippo online app, as well as in Metro supermarket locations in Shanghai.
Beyond Meat’s main rival Impossible Foods, famous for its “bleeding” heme-filled vegan patties, has too been keen to capitalise on the Asian plant-based market, particularly in China, and has launched two new vegan pork products as a part of its plan of action.
Lead image courtesy of Beyond Meat via CNN.