Beyond Meat announced today that it will build two production facilities in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, near Shanghai. According to a recent announcement from Beyond, this is the first time a fully plant-based, foreign company has expanded its facilities to China.
Beyond Meat already has roots in China; this year it launched its plant-based beef product in over 3,300 Starbucks throughout the country. Additionally, the company debuted a limited-time trial run of its plant-based burgers in several KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut franchises throughout China at the beginning of summer.
China’s meat supply chain was greatly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused mass shortages and price inflation. China is an animal protein-hungry country with a growing population, and disruptions in the meat supply chain open up an opportunity for Beyond Meat to offer its plant-based alternatives to the country. Beyond Meat will face competition from already established plant-based meat companies in China, Omnipork and Starfield among them.
China and the U.S. are not the only markets that Beyond Meat has penetrated. Earlier this summer, the company acquired a new production site and opened a co-manufacturing facility in the Netherlands. Additionally, Beyond Meat is available in major Canadian grocery stores and has also recently launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site (that only serves the U.S., however).
Demand for plant-based meat alternatives us certainly not limited to one area of the world. The global plant-based meat market is expected to grow to be worth 4.2 billion by 2021, and Beyond isn’t the only major player in plant-based proteins expanding internationally. Eat JUST has several global partnerships at work, and Impossible Foods just announced today it is expanding into Canada.
The future Beyond Meat facilities in China will produce plant-based beef, pork, and chicken alternatives under the Beyond Meat brand. The facilities are expected to reach full-scale production by early 2021.