All eyes on plant-based meat at CIIE

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 11, 2020
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A staff member cooks "vegetarian meat" at the booth of U.S.-based agriculture and food company Cargill at the Food and Agricultural Products exhibition area during the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 5, 2020.

U.S. agriculture and food giant Cargill is showcasing a range of its plant-based meat products at the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Rising public demand for healthy, nutritious and high-protein food has led companies to create innovative new products. Visitors to this year's expo are able to sample meats with both the taste and texture of chicken and beef. However, this meat isn't quite what it seems — it is entirely vegan.

Cargill launched its range of products in China this April, receiving a warm response. During the trade expo, Liu Jun, president of the company's China division, said: "Our surveys showed that around 80% of customers liked the products, and more than 60% said that they would purchase them again. We noticed that many companies are beginning to invest in this area."

Cargill's plant-based "chicken" and "beef" are now being sold both online and in stores. The company is also working with KFC, e-commerce platform Tmall and Lawson convenience stores to present its vegetarian meat offerings in both raw and cooked forms to customers, while also building up its PlantEver brand.

Several companies have now joined the race to produce meat substitutes. The global plant-based artificial meat market reached $12.1 billion in 2019, and it is expected to grow to $27.9 billion by 2025, according to a data published by research firm Marketsandmarkets. Meanwhile, a report by Grand View Research released on Oct. 20 projected the market may reach a more conservative $13.8 billion by 2027.

China's domestic meat substitute market is currently experiencing a period of rapid development, with business scale having reached $5 billion from scratch. In July, Beyond Meat announced that it would enter the Chinese market through Alibaba Group Holding's Hema Fresh supermarket chain, while Nestle also plans to open its first plant-based food production line in Tianjin. In addition, food and beverage brands including Heytea, Baicaowei and Starbucks have also introduced plant-based meat products.

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