Yum China Holdings announced a deal yesterday to bring Beyond Meat’s plant-based burgers to select KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell stores in mainland China for a limited time this month. The move expands Beyond’s presence in China, which has been a priority for the company.
As part of the deal, KFC and Pizza Hut will both offer the Beyond Burger, while the Taco Bell locations will offer a taco made with Beyond meat. All three restaurants are offering the plant-based alternatives for just a limited time.
The Yum deal follows a similar partnership Beyond announced in April, when Starbucks in China added three dishes made with Beyond’s meat product. Beyond has a particular focus on Asia and has a goal of producing its plant-based burgers in the region before the end of this year.
All of these QSR deals help Beyond establish a foothold in China before its rival, Impossible Foods has a chance to do the same. China is something of a holy grail for plant-based meat companies. As we explained last year:
- China has the largest population in the world
- China produces the most meat in the world
- China consumes the most meat in the world, and its hunger for protein is growing
Additionally, pork is the most consumed meat in Asia, and earlier this year Impossible debuted its plant-based pork product at CES.
We can expect to see Beyond make more deals like the Yum one in the coming months. And for it’s part, Impossible has been ramping up production and its retail presence here in the U.S. over the past year, and seems to be prepping a direct to consumer sales channel.
Plant-based meal sales were already skyrocketing, and that trend isn’t likely to ease up as the COVID-19 pandemic has raised new questions about the health and safety of eating animal-based meat. The business of faux burgers is very much real.