Hero Protein is a Chinese alt-meat startup based in Shanghai. It is working on developing plant-based meat alternatives, starting with beef, chicken, and fish. Meanwhile, Chinese fast-food chain Dico, the third largest fast-food enterprise in China, announces the launch of vegan chicken burgers and nuggets.
In September, the company closed its pre-seed funding round. This will allow it to further develop its products, which are not yet on the market. Among its investors was the Lever China Alternative Protein Fund.
The company’s meat alternatives are made mainly with soy, wheat, and peas. They are free of GMOs, an important selling point in China where consumers are very aware of food safety issues.
Unlike some Western alt-meat brands that have tried to gain traction in the country, Hero’s plant meats are tailored to the Chinese market. Other Chinese companies such as Zhenmeat and Hey Maet are taking a similar approach, making products that can be used in popular Asian dishes such as stir-fries and dumplings.
Vegan chicken at Dicos
Meanwhile, Chinese fast-food chain Dicos has announced it is launching vegan chicken burgers and nuggets. It has partnered with Shenzhen-based alt-meat brand Starfield to offer the new options. Starfield became China’s fastest-growing plant-based brand when it raised $10M back in August.
The vegan chicken will be available at most mainland Dicos stores, over 2,600 locations in total. Dicos is the first large Chinese chain to offer plant-based meat, though Western chains have trialled meat-free burgers in the country.
“Our intention is to provide more young consumers in China with opportunities to try plant-based meat, while also advocating for a ‘green diet’ concept,” Dicos’ chief marketing officer Xie Yahui told Red Star News.