Beyond Dumplings

© Beyond Meat

Market & Trends

New Report Highlights Evolving Trends in the Chinese Alt Protein Market in Low-Investment Post-Pandemic Era

A new report on the Chinese alt protein market landscape by Asymmetrics Research highlights a slower rate of investments in the sector (this year) due to difficult fundraising and unfavorable macroeconomic conditions. According to the report, the most recent investment deals have been in cell-based culture and fermentation startups. In its third edition, the new report sets the market context and examines trends across key categories, offering updated information on the quickly evolving market in China’s post-pandemic era. Asymmetrics Research’s 2021 report predicted rapid growth for the alt protein market in China, driven by flexitarianism and health, safety, and sustainability concerns. This year’s report has found that trends for the plant-based category still gravitate around health, with customers looking for discounts, while fermentation and cell-based foods are emerging …

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Matthew Kenney Cuisine

© Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Food Service

Plant-Based Celebrity Chef Matthew Kenney Expands Plant-Based Food Hall Model to China

Matthew Kenney, plant-based celebrity chef and entrepreneur, has revealed plans to bring his plant-based food hall model to China after the success of Plant City, the “world’s largest vegan dining hall”, in Rhode Island. Boasting a substantial portfolio of plant-based restaurants, including Casa Planta in Costa Rica, Folia in the Middle East, and Plant Food + Wine in the US and Peru, Kenney has been promoting a plant-centric lifestyle on a global scale, currently operating over 50 restaurants around the world. With this latest venture, the chef plans to target markets in China, including Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Macao, and Shenzhen. Each of these establishments will house between 12 and 14 individual restaurants specializing in diverse plant-based cuisines, along with food and lifestyle retail options. Among …

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Mycelium bacon on a plate - CellX unveils its mycelium fermentation programme

Image courtesy of CellX

Protein

CellX Ventures into Mycelium Fermentation to Create Proteins for Plant-Based and Hybrid Products

CellX, a biotech that operates China’s largest cultivated and seafood facility, announces a new fermentation program, a parallel venture producing mycelium-derived proteins for alt meat and dairy, functional, and hybrid products.  With this expansion, the company aims to complement its cultivated meat platform and launch sustainable proteins more quickly. “Fermentation and cultivated meat both serve CellX’s vision of providing sustainable protein for everyone,” Operations Manager Liu Yu informs vegconomist.  CellX’s fermentation program has already commenced operations with a pilot-scale production of 10 m3. The company says it is preparing to submit for regulatory approval in China and abroad and is set to introduce its mycelium products into global markets by 2025.  A diverse portfolio of novel proteins The edible fungi strains suitable for fermentation were …

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Changing Bio launches alt dairy line made with microbial proteins

Changing Bio- Image courtesy of GFI

Fermentation

Dao Foods Releases Detailed Report on Microbial Fermentation Industry in China

Dao Foods International has released The Role of Fermentation in New Protein Adoption in China, a new report on the state of microbial proteins in the country. Co-written and led by Rouyu Wu, director of investment and innovation at Dao Foods, the report explores the exceptional factors that make China a prime location for biomanufacturing microbial proteins. The review examines the historical progress of the biomanufacturing infrastructure and the recent regional government policies to promote its future development. It highlights the companies working in the industry and the opportunities and challenges facing large-scale fermentation of novel proteins. “By conducting this initial research, we hope to bridge the information gap between China and the rest of the world, inspire more entrepreneurs to engage in alternative protein …

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CellX cultivated dish at demo

© CellX

Cultivated Seafood

China’s CellX is Confident it “Can Achieve Cost-Effective Mass Production of Cultivated Fish”

A month after announcing it had commenced operations at what it claims to be China’s first large-scale pilot plant for cultivated meat, CellX states this week it has made significant strides towards the industrial application of cultivated seafood. “Through the use of high-throughput equipment and systematic research methods for cell fate regulation, we achieved successful suspension differentiation of fish cells in only six months, which typically requires one to two years in the industry,” states CellX R&D Director Dr. Shuangshuang Chen in a press release. CellX secured $6.5 million in Series A+ funding this June to establish the pilot plant and has gone on to achieve a series of milestones in the three months that have passed. The company has now successfully completed the pilot …

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jimi biotech's scientists

Image courtesy of Jimi Biotech

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

China’s Jimi Biotech Develops “World’s First” Deer Antler Stem Cell Line

Chinese cellular agriculture company Jimi Biotech has developed what it claims is the first ever deer antler stem cell line. So far, the line has undergone over 60 passages, with a doubling time of under 24 hours. Deer antlers are widely used in China for dietary and medicinal purposes, and the market exceeds 3 billion RMB (about $412 million). They have been extensively studied for their ability to completely regenerate under natural conditions, with some researchers believing they could have anti-aging properties. The stem cells, which make up less than 1% of the antler structure, play a key role in this ability. The cells used by Jimi Biotech were derived from the tip of the first two-bar antler of a three-year-old Sika deer. Prime-aged deer …

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CellX launched China's first large-scale pilot plant for cultivated meat

Image courtesy of CellX

Company News

CellX Commences Operations at China’s First Large Scale Cultivated Meat Plant

Chinese biotech company CellX announces it has established and commenced operations at what it claims to be China’s first large-scale pilot plant for cultivated meat. The new pilot plant, the FX factory, has a capacity of 1,000 tons of cultivated meat, representing a significant milestone for CellX’s biotechnology. The facility will be a testing ground for larger-scale production necessary to bring products to market. CellX is building a commercial-scale production factory set to launch in 2025, with an anticipated production capacity of hundreds of tons. CellX, which stands out as one of the few companies capable of upscaling cultivated meat production, secured $6.5 million to complete its pilot-scale facility this June, bringing its total funding to $20 million. “Cultivated meat technology embodies a safe, efficient, and sustainable …

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Haofood expands its product portfolio with dumplings filled with peanut mince

Image credit: Taobao

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Haofood Revolutionizes Dumplings with Peanut Meat Filling that Mimics Pork Mince

China’s Haofood, the first company in the world to use peanut protein to make plant-based chicken, expands its portfolio with a new vegan development: black truffle flavor dumplings (xiao long bao) filled with peanut meat and soup.   Traditionally, pork mince is the star ingredient for xiao long bao filings. However, harnessing its extrusion technology and formulations, Haofood has managed to develop a peanut-based meat that replicates the texture and characteristics of steamed pork mince. The new dumplings, among the first vegan options for pork mince in the market, are already available on Taobao, the Chinese online shopping platform. Outside of China, Astrid Prajogo, the founder of Haofood, unveiled the new peanut mince dumplings at Proveg Incubator headquarters in Berlin. Before launching into the plant-based business world, Haofood participated …

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dug's potato milk range

© DUG

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

DUG Potato Milk to Launch in China in Collaboration With Haofood

DUG — a potato-based milk alternative developed by Sweden’s Veg of Lund — is set to launch in China in the first quarter of next year. Veg of Lund is reported to have signed a letter of intent with Chinese alt meat brand Haofood; the two companies will collaborate to sell DUG potato milk in China and other selected markets in the region. Haofood has an impressive track record in the Chinese plant-based market, with its peanut-based chicken alternative securing listings at thousands of stores across the country since launching in 2021. “Haofood is established in sales and marketing of plant-based products in the region and is an excellent partner in bringing our proprietary portfolio of products to market,” said Fredrik Carling, CEO of Veg …

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CellX secures funds to start running its cultivated meat pilot plant

Image courtesy of CellX

Cultivated Meat

CellX Secures $6.5M to Launch China’s First Cultivated Meat Pilot Facility & Tasting Space

Chinese biotechnology company CellX announces it has secured $6.5 million in Series A+ funding led by various investors to complete its pilot-scale facility and begin producing cultivated meat products.  In February, the cell ag company announced plans to build China’s first pilot facility in partnership with Tofflon, a biotech and food equipment company. Besides a production plant and R&D center, CellX says its facility will be a “transparent food space” for public tastings of its cultivated meat demo products.  “The facility is almost ready, and we are about to start the first batch of 2,000L run. We will be opening our doors for public tasting soon, and we are excited to invite you to Shanghai for a taste of the future,” said Ziliang Yang, cofounder and CEO of …

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Beyond Meat launches at Metro China

© Beyond Meat

Market & Trends

The Chinese Plant-Based Meat Industry is “Faltering”, Claims Publication. Is This Really the Case?

Earlier this week, Sixth Tone, a digital platform covering Chinese current affairs, claimed that plant-based brands both domestic and imported are struggling in China, in a now-familiar rhetoric that is being churned out globally making vegan products as well as veganism itself an easy target. “Once the darlings of both foreign and domestic investors, Chinese plant-based startups are folding amid a downturn for the industry globally,” the platform denounces, citing Chinese brands Hey Maet and Zhenmeat which were amongst those swept up in the post-Beyond IPO hype around 2019. The bigger picture Is alt protein actually faltering in the second most populous country in the world? Just in the past few months, we have seen news emerging regarding China’s first alt dairy products made with …

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Changing Bio's parmesan cheese made with microbial protein

Image courtesy of GFI

Fermentation

Changing Bio Launches China’s First Range of Microbial Protein Dairy Alternatives

After winning the Sustainability Innovation Award at BEYOND Expo 2023 in Macau, Shanghai-based Changing Bio officially debuted the company’s first line of alt dairy products made with a microbial protein derived from yeast dubbed Kluvy at the 25th annual Bakery Expo in Shanghai.  At the event, the company’s new ChangingPRO line, including whipped cream and a low-fat parmesan powder high in protein and probiotics featured the novel protein Kluvy mixed with plant-based ingredients. Other products used the novel protein but mixed with conventional dairy. Kluvy, considered a complete source of protein with a PDCAAS score of 1, is a domesticated strain from a bacteria discovered in Shangri-La, a famous town at the southeastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.  “There are 10,000 billion species of microorganisms that coexist …

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CellX cultivated chicken breast finalist at XPRIZE

Image courtesy of CellX

Startups, Accelerators & Incubators

CellX Team Reaches XPRIZE Finals with Cultivated Chicken Breast

Chinese cultivated meat company CellX announces it has been selected among the six finalists (out of 353 participants) of the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion (FTNB) competition to develop alternative proteins. FTNB, established in 2020, encourages startups to develop alternative chicken breast or fish filet products that surpass conventional meat in terms of nutrition, taste, and texture. Moreover, these products must be affordable and promote environmental sustainability and animal welfare. © XPRIZE Foundation Six breakthroughs in food tech A judging panel of diverse experts in international sustainability, agricultural and biological engineering, the food industry, and experts working at the highest levels of academia and research selected the finalist, explains XPRIZE. The following teams will compete for the final prize of $12 million in 2024: Revo Foods: Plant-based fish from Austria Eternal: Fermentation-derived chicken …

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Plant-Based Brand Zrou expands across Northern China

Image credit: Zrou

Company News

Plant-Based Brand Zrou Expands Across Northern China with Usource, the Nation’s First Plant-Based Cheese Maker

Youkuai Group International, a leading plant-based food company in China, has announced a strategic partnership with Beijing-based food distributor Usource to broaden the reach of its plant-based meat products across North China and expand its presence in the Chinese market. Youkuai’s plant-based meat brand Zrou has been served in over 160 locations across 18 cities, from school and corporate canteens to five-star hotels and popular restaurants. This new alliance will see Zrou supplied to diners, hotels, breweries, and other food outlets across Beijing, Tianjin, and other regions of North China, said Youkuai in a statement.  China’s first plant-based cheese brand Usource, an importer, processor, and distributor of all-natural fresh foods based in Beijing, has hundreds of leading hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and e-commerce platforms as clients. …

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China Vegan Society introduces Vegan Food Certification Program

© Image courtesy of China Vegan Society

Charity & Campaigns

China Vegan Society Introduces Vegan Food Certification Program, Reveals First Successful Applicants

The vegan movement in China is gaining momentum, as seen with the launch of the China Vegan Food Certification (CVFC) program on March 31, 2023. Developed over two years by a committee led by the China Vegan Society, the Beijing Soybean Foods Association, and the China Biodiversity Conservation & Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), the CVFC offers two certifications for vegan products: the Vegan Food Certification and the Vegan & Pungent-Free Food Certification.  The CVFC was created to standardize vegan claims within the Chinese market, increase transparency and consumer trust in vegan products, and encourage consumers and food producers to make animal-free choices.  The new certification aligns with international vegan standards and offers a subcategory for in-demand “Buddhist-friendly” vegan products, explains the China Vegan Society. Currently, …

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VeggiieWorld & NewProtein China

© VeggiieWorld & NewProtein China

Fairs & Events

130 Brands to Exhibit at VeggieWorld & NewProtein China 2023

Following the lifting of China’s zero-Covid policy, VeggieWorld & NewProtein China will return in 2023,  taking place at Nanjing International Exhibition Center this weekend (April 14-16). The event is a dedicated trade fair and conference for alternative food business in China. It aims to build up a professional exchange and trade platform for the alt protein industry, along with educating consumers about new products and technologies. At the trade fair, 130 brands will showcase products and services such as plant-based foods, ingredients, machinery, cosmetics, and fashion. Exhibitors will include Omni Foods, Oatly, v2food, Next Meats, and more. “Incredible growth” The New Protein China Forum will also take place at the event, featuring talks and panels from experts and industry leaders. Speakers from Avant Meats, Cargill, …

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100% cells cultivated chicken

Cultivated Chicken, image courtesy of Jimi Biotech

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Jimi Biotech Unveils “China’s First” 100% Cultivated Chicken

Hangzhou-based company Jimi Biotech claims it has successfully developed China’s first 100% cultivated chicken, made without using plant scaffolding. Jimi has also announced a new round of funding, invested exclusively by Shiwei Capital. The news comes just three months after the company secured funds in an angel round, after unveiling China’s first cultivated beef product. Jimi Evolution System Weichang Jiang, a partner at Shiwei Capital, said: “Although only three months have passed since the last round of funding, Jimi Biotech has still made significant technological breakthroughs. In addition to the rapid progress in core areas such as cell lines and culture media, we believe that Jimi Biotech’s deep integration of automation and AI into the research and development also reflects the founder’s emphasis on continuously …

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Beyond Burger

© Beyond Meat

Studies & Numbers

Survey: 99.8% of Chinese Respondents Would Buy Locally-Produced Plant-Based Burgers

A survey of Chinese consumers in four major cities has revealed immensely positive attitudes towards plant-based meat. Conducted by the School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences at Peking University, the research found that a huge 99.8% of respondents would be willing to buy locally-produced plant-based burgers. 85% had already tried plant-based meat, largely due to a desire to try new things and a belief that plant-based products are healthier. Women, highly educated people, and those with a high income were the most likely to buy plant-based meat. Beijing had the highest proportion of consumers who had tried meat alternatives, at 89%. However, a previous study in November found that 60% of Chinese consumers were only somewhat aware of plant-based meat, or not aware at all. The …

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cellx cultivated meat on a plate

© CellX

Cultivated Meat

CellX & Tofflon to Build “China’s First” Pilot Facility for Cultivated Meat Production

Chinese biotechnology company CellX and Tofflon, a provider of process support, core equipment, consumables, and system engineering solutions for global drug and food manufacturing, have announced a strategic agreement partnership to build China’s first pilot facility for cultivated meat production.  Additionally, the companies announced plans to develop innovative equipment and to build other global facilities for the commercial production of cultivated meat products.  Ziliang Yang, co-founder and CEO of CellX, said: “Tofflon is one of the world’s leading providers of comprehensive solutions for drug and food manufacturing, and their equipment and technologies can be quickly applied to the field of cultivated meat. As part of our strategic partnership, the construction of a pilot facility is the cornerstone of CellX’s journey to scale up cultivated meat production in …

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a collage of farm animals

Image: vegconomist

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

The Companies Removing Fetal Bovine Serum to Make Ethical, Slaughter-Free Meat

Last week, GOOD Meat received the first-in-the-world regulatory approval to use fetal bovine serum-free media in its cultivated poultry production process. With this significant milestone in the history of cultivated meat, we discuss the companies paving the way for ethical, slaughter-free meat. Removing fetal bovine serum (FBS) from cultivated meat production has been among the industry’s major challenges. FBS has been the default growth supplement for in vitro cell culture used by academic and industrial researchers and scientists, including in the cellular agriculture space. Ethically problematic Fetal bovine serum is made by harvesting the blood of bovine fetuses taken from pregnant cows during slaughter. Blood from the fetus is drawn out via a closed collection system and then transformed into a serum. FBS contains growth factors, hormones, …

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