Yum China to unveil Beyond Burger at select KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains
02 Jun 2020 --- Yum China Holdings is partnering with plant-based innovator Beyond Meat to introduce the Beyond Burger as a limited-time offering at select KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations in mainland China starting tomorrow. The partnership marks the introduction of Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger in China and will provide consumers with a plant-based twist on the iconic beef burger patty.
“We see great potential for the plant-based meat market in China,” says Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. “This latest introduction across KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands is expected to capture valuable consumer feedback across different regions in China. It will enable us to optimize flavors and processes and help assess the potential for larger-scale rollouts in the future. This exciting development is the latest iteration of our on-going commitment to introduce new and innovative products to Chinese consumers.”
“I’m excited about what this launch means in terms of together being of service to the Chinese consumer as they seek out the nutritional and environmental benefits of our delicious plant-based meats. More generally, our partnership with Yum China and the iconic brands of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell is an encouraging and important milestone toward increased accessibility to our plant-based meat globally,” explains Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat Founder and CEO.
KFC will offer the Beyond Burger as a three-day limited time offer at five locations in Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai.
Pizza Hut is also launching its first-ever burger offerings by testing a combo set that includes both a Beyond Burger and an Australian sirloin steak burger at six stores in Shanghai from June 8 to 11. Pre-sale coupons are required for participating in the test and are available only for Pizza Hut’s members starting June 1.
Meanwhile, Taco Bell will offer a taco made with the plant-based Beyond Burger patty at three stores in Shanghai from June 3 to 10. The taco combines Taco Bell’s classic taco recipe with a crispy corn taco, signature Mexican spices and ingredients such as chipotle and black beans, vegetables and unique sauce.
The rise of plant-based meat
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).
Before partnering with Beyond Meat, KFC and Taco Bell had previously conducted tests of plant-based meat products in China. In April, KFC tested plant-based chicken nuggets at select stores in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, while in December 2019, Taco Bell tested a plant-based pork taco at select stores in Shanghai.
Yum China’s in-depth market understanding and consumer insights, accumulated over the past 30 years, offer a strong foundation for establishing plant-based meat in China. KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are among the first Western restaurant brands to introduce a plant-based meat product in China and with this test, they are joining their global counterparts in helping to popularize plant-based meat products.
Also in April, Beyond Meat, through a partnership with Starbucks, rolled out its plant-based meat analogs in China. The company began by introducing its plant-based ground “beef,” branded Beyond Beef, to the new market. The move was spearheaded by 3,300 Starbucks locations across China and comes amid a shift in consumer preferences for plant-based products spurred by the coronavirus outbreak.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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