In China there is currently a meat shortage, particularly pork. This has not been helped by the restrictions placed on the importation of meat due to Covid-19, meaning that meat cannot be sent to China from many of the large factories across the world.
Western brands like Starbucks and KFC are trying to use this gap in the market to promote their products. The plant-based food company Beyond Meat has just started selling its food in Starbucks cafes in China. Following suit, KFC is also trialling fake chicken nuggets from next week. The fast food restaurant is trying out past-based fried chicken for the first time in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen for a trial period.
Beyond Meat have stated their desire to have “localised production within Asia by the end of 2020”, saying that they see Asia as a “key region for strategic long-term growth”. The company said that they have “seen the growing demand for plant-based meat in China” and this is why they will be offering three meals which contain no meat across 3300 Starbucks in China, so the BBC have reported.
Despite this increase in non meat options, there are concerns that the demand for it is still not that large in China. As Shaun Rein, a China Market Research Group worker states, “The demand for healthier, non-meat proteins is not as high in China because Chinese already eat more vegetables as part of their daily diet than Americans and Europeans”.
The success of vegetarian options will, therefore, be tested with these new products.