Customers in Hong Kong and Singapore can now buy Impossible Foods’ flagship plant-based beef in about 200 grocery stores, as the company awaits approval to enter China’s market.
Starting this week, Impossible Foods’ faux beef burgers are sold in nearly 100 outlets of PARKnSHOP in Hong Kong, and in Singapore’s nearly 100 outlets of FairPrice and online retailer RedMart. The company said it is the first time the flagship product has been available for home chefs outside of the United States.
The plant-based meat is still waiting approval from Chinese regulators as its key ingredient, heam, made from genetically modified yeast, requires approval in China. But the company’s Chief Executive Pat Brown told an online news conference that they are optimistic it could happen in the next year or as soon as in the next several months.
Brown said Impossible wanted to make it a domestic industry by building a complete plant-based supply chain in China, which is better from a public health standpoint and vastly reduces the environmental footprint.
Impossible Beef debuted in Asia’s top restaurants two years ago and have been served on more and more menus. According to the company, diners can taste the plant-based meat in approximately 700 restaurants across Hong Kong and Macau, and at about 550 restaurants in Singapore. Sales of Impossible Beef increased by more than sixfold in Asia last year.
Impossible said the Asian launch was accelerated by COVID-19 as people altered their eating habits and restaurant diners turned to home cooking amid COVID-19.
The company’s rival Beyond Meat said in September that it had signed a deal to open a production facility near Shanghai, as the company ramps up its focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market.
Plant-based meat is becoming increasingly popular in China this year. After Beyond Meat entered the Chinese market with its partnership with Starbucks in April to create three dishes made with Beyond’s beef alternative, the faux meat maker collaborated with KFC to bring plant-based burgers and veggie chicken nuggets to select restaurants in Chinese cities. Chinese tea drink chain HeyTea also launched veggie burgers with artificial meat startup Starfield.
Due to Chinese people’s unique cooking culture and food market, it’s still unknown how the budding plant-based meat development will turn out in China.