Beyond Meat partners with Alibaba to enter Chinese retail sector
02 Jul 2020 --- Plant-based innovator Beyond Meat has announced the brand's retail entrance in mainland China. Starting this weekend, the Beyond Burger will launch in 50 Freshippo stores in Shanghai. The collaboration with Alibaba Group’s Freshippo, a new retail platform, marks the first rollout of Beyond Meat products in supermarkets in mainland China. The move closely follows the company’s foodservice launches with Starbucks in April and Yum China last month.
“We know that retail will be a critical part of our success in China and we’re pleased to mark this early milestone within a few months of our market entry. Following our recent foodservice announcements with Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in China, as well as our distribution partnership with Sinodis, expanding into retail is the natural next step in building our market presence. We’re proud to partner with Alibaba’s Freshippo, a dominant player in the retail space, to introduce our hallmark Beyond Burger to home cooks throughout China,” says Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat.
After offering the Beyond Burger in 50 Shanghai Freshippo stores throughout the summer, Beyond Meat plans to expand its Beyond Burger to an additional 48 Freshippo stores in Beijing and Hangzhou starting in September. The Beyond Burger will also be available on the Freshippo mobile app so customers can have plant-based meals delivered on-demand and from the comfort of their own homes.
“Beyond Meat and Freshippo share a vision of bringing innovative shopping experiences and products to our customers. Freshippo’s New Retail technology will enable plant-based meat to grow in China by meeting the modern Chinese consumer’s expectations whether they are shopping online or offline. We have seen a growing interest in plant-based meat among our shoppers and look forward to offering more Beyond Meat products in the future,” explains Jiayu Zhao, Senior Director and Head of Merchandising of Freshippo.
In Freshippo locations around Shanghai, the Beyond Burger will be located in the frozen meat section, offering Chinese consumers more choice when it comes to their protein options and greater visibility for plant-based meat in China.
The Beyond Burger is not just limited to burgers – there are a whole host of recipes that can utilize the plant-based meat to suit the needs of Chinese consumers. Whether stirred in with fried rice or noodles, sautéed with vegetables, or packed into a dumpling, the Beyond Burger is flexible enough to fit any cuisine and any palate, the company states.
A sizzling sensation?
The plant-based Beyond Burger is designed to look, cook and taste like a minced beef burger but is made from plant-based ingredients without soy or gluten. The Beyond Burger patty delivers a juicy, satisfying burger eating experience, without the compromise on taste, says Beyond Meat..
Compared to 80/20 minced beef, per 113 g the Beyond Burger patty offers:
• A rich source of protein with 20 g per 113 g serving, derived from peas, mung beans and rice.
• Thirty-five percent less saturated fat.
• Less total fat.
• More iron.
• No antibiotics or hormones.
Doing its bit for the environment
A 2018 Life Cycle Assessment conducted by the University of Michigan found that producing the US Beyond Burger patty uses 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land, 46 percent less energy and emits 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than producing a quarter pound US beef burger patty.
By building meat from plants, Beyond Meat is a key player in the growing meat alternative space which is focused on improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare. This resonates with consumers globally who are looking for diversified protein options that are more nutritious, sustainable and humane.
Plant-based meat products have become increasingly popular around the world. Innova Market pegs the “The Plant-Based Revolution” as the second most significant trend expected to influence NPD this year, fueled by growing consumer awareness of the impact of meat consumption on both personal and planetary health.
New launches with vegan claims have seen a substantial rise and are becoming mainstream. Innova Market Insights notes a 23 percent annual growth of food and beverage launches tracked with vegan claims (Global, 2015 to 2019). Moreover, vegan food is becoming more significant, with more than one in four global consumers saying vegan alternative food launches are most sustainable (Innova Market Insights Survey Global, 2019).
China, in particular, is making significant strides into the plant-based food sector. Last month, it launched a Plant-Based Food Innovation Contest in Shanghai. The contest, which is the first-of-its-kind in Asia, is a collaboration between food awareness organization ProVeg International and the Shanghai Society of Food Science. It seeks to accelerate the innovation of sustainable and healthy plant-based food in the region. The move comes at a time when the plant-based market in the country is growing significantly.
By Elizabeth Green
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