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The fake-meat challenge for US firms in China, where millions aspire to eat real meat and plant-base


In the Wangjing neighbourhood of Beijing, ZeroGo is one of the city’s few vegan restaurants. It offers pizza, protein bowls and Asian-fusion fare, and online reviews rave about the menu’s creativity, which includes a vegan Big Mac, complete with vegan cheese and dairy-free special sauce. The “burger” is made from scratch, an original, pea-based recipe.

If the American fake-meat darlings Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have their way, chef Raymond Xie will soon be able to use their meatier patties. The problem is, he does not want to. “I want to use real fruit and vegetables,” he says, “Not products made with the intention of being a direct meat substitute.”

Plenty of Chinese people share the scepticism about American-style, plant-based imitation meat, a fact Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are about to confront. Both are hungrily eyeing China, which accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s meat consumption by volume.

The recent outbreak of African swine fever has driven up the price of pork and primed consumers for alternatives, and if the American companies can win over even a small fraction of the country’s 1.4 billion people, the opportunity is massive.

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Courtesy: South China Morning Post

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