Beyond Meat announced today the opening of its new manufacturing facility in the Jiaxing Economic & Technological Development Zone near Shanghai, China. The plant is Beyond’s first facility outside of the U.S. and is expected to increase both the amount of product the company can manufacture in that region and the speed at which it can do so.
The new facility will produce Beyond’s beef, pork, and poultry products, including “Beyond Pork,” the company’s minced pork product made “specifically for the Chinese market.” The facility will also function as an R&D hub for the region that will develop new products.
Beyond first announced its intent to build two facilities in China towards the end of 2020. The company already sells its plant-based beef products in that region via a deal with Starbucks. For a limited time in 2020, Beyond products were also available via Yum Brands restaurants, including KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.
In the Chinese market, it has competition from a handful of local players that includes Green Monday-owned Omnipork as well as HERO, which recently raised $850,000. Beyond CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement today that the opening of the new manufacturing facility will allow the company to “effectively compete” in China.
The U.S. still leads in terms of demand for plant-based meat alternatives, but the Asia region is catching up. China, meanwhile, is the world’s largest consumer of meat, particularly when it comes to pork. At the same time, though, the meat-replacement category is growing in that country, with Euromonitor predicting it to be worth $11.9 billion by 2023.
Beyond’s news comes the same week its chief rival, Impossible, launched its first-ever ad campaign to sway meat eaters towards plant-based products. Impossible has yet to to start selling its wares in China, however. At last check, the company was still waiting on regulatory approval for that market.