Starbucks will add Beyond Meat products to its menus in China this week, marking the alt-meat company’s first foray into that country, according to AgFunder News. The partnership comes on the heels of a similar one Starbucks and Beyond debuted in Canada earlier this year.
For the China partnership, the coffee chain will add three dishes containing Beyond products: a lasagna, a Vietnamese-style noodle salad, and pesto pasta. Starbucks will simultaneously also add two new dishes to the menu using Hong Kong’s plant-based Omnipork product.
The push into China is part of Beyond’s overall growth plans that the company outlined at the end of February, including expanding manufacturing to Asia. At the time, Beyond CEO Ethan Brown said his company will “continue to focus on Asia with the goal of producing in the region before the end of 2020.”
The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t appear to have stalled those plans. In fact, Brown flatly stated back in February that the spread of the novel coronavirus would not prevent Beyond from entering China in 2020. “It adjusts some of our plans, but I am not taking my foot off the gas,” he said.
China is the ultimate market to tackle as far as most alternative meat companies are concerned. It has the world’s largest population and is one of the world’s largest meat producers. And Beyond isn’t alone in its plans for expansion in that country. Chief competitor Impossible Foods also plans to expand into that market.
Starbucks, meanwhile, set a preliminary goal at the beginning of the year to become resource positive by 2030 when it comes to carbon, water, and waste. Offering more alternative meat products is part of that, as traditional livestock farming is an extremely resource-intensive endeavor.
Starbucks has over 4,300 stores in China. Most of those closed when the country went on lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Seattle-based chain has reopened 95 percent of its locations.