HERO Protein, an alternative meat startup from Shanghai, is currently developing a variety of plant-based meat alternatives, with the first breakthroughs being beef, chicken and fish. Chinese fast food chain Dicos, the third-largest fast-food company in China, has also recently announced the launch of vegan chicken burgers and nuggets.
You Meat completed a pre-seed funding round in September this year, which will help it to further develop its products (which are not yet on the market). Moment Capital China Alternative Protein Fund is one of You Meat’s investors.
You Meat’s meat alternatives are made primarily from soy, wheat and peas, and all products are non-GMO – an important selling point as Chinese consumers are very concerned about food safety.
Some Western alternative meat brands have also made attempts to appeal to domestic Chinese consumers. Unlike this, You Meat’s plant-based meat is tailored specifically for the Chinese market. Other Chinese companies such as Zhenmeat and Hey Maet are following a similar route, with products that can be used in a variety of everyday Asian dishes such as stir-fries and dumplings.
Tex-Mex launches vegan chicken
Separately, Chinese fast-food chain Tex-Mex has announced the launch of a full line of vegan chicken burgers and nuggets through a partnership with Shenzhen-based alternative meat brand Starfield. In August this year, Starfield raised US$10 million to become the fastest-growing plant-based meat brand in China.
Tex-Mex is rolling out vegan chicken to a total of more than 2,600 shops in China. While some Western chains have previously tried out veggie burgers in China, Tex-Mex is the first major local Chinese chain to serve plant-based meat.
Speaking to Red Star News, Yawei Xie, chief marketing officer of Texaco, said, “We aim to offer more young Chinese consumers the opportunity to try plant-based meat, while promoting the idea of ‘green eating’.”