The artificial meat race is officially heating up in China. Fast food chains KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have just announced that they will be serving products using Beyond Meat at select locations nationwide this week.
According to the announcement (link in Chinese), these three companies — which fall under parent company Yum China — will offer limited runs of Beyond Meat products in an effort to gauge Chinese consumer response.
From June 3, KFC will have a three-day limited sale of the Beyond Burger in five participating stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu. Pizza Hut announced it would launch a “twin burger combo” in Shanghai, serving a Beyond Burger alongside a real beef burger from June 8 to 11. And Taco Bell said it would serve tacos for a limited time made with Beyond Beef, after it debuted its plant–based OmniPork taco last December.
This move comes not long after Beyond Meat made its China debut a month ago, teaming up with Starbucks to introduce Beyond Meat to its menu. Not long after, bubble tea chain Heytea debuted a plant-based cheeseburger on its menu, while Nestle announced that it would be investing 100 million USD into a new plant-based meat factory in China.
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In April, KFC also tested a limited run of imitation chicken nuggets among the Chinese public, partnering with one of Beyond Meat’s competitors, Cargill. Though the company claimed pre-sale coupons were sold out quickly, online responses to the nuggets were mixed.
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In contrast to these nuggets, netizens seem to be more impressed with KFC’s new offerings. On a related announcement post, one highly upvoted comment reads, “Oh my god, it looks so tempting.” “When will I be able to get this?” reads another. “I want this right now.”
In tandem with the rest of the globe, artificial meat options are starting to become more common in China as of this year. Investors in the movement are banking on people’s growing interest in pursuing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
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With Beyond Meat’s introduction to China, as well as a growing number of local plant based options, we can likely expect more brands to join the artificial meat race before the year is out.
Header image: Amirali Mirhashemian via Unsplash
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