Beyond Meat has teamed up with Freshippo to launch its products in the Alibaba Group-owned New Retail supermarket as the plant-based market heats up in China.
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Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat is launching its flagship Beyond Burger – a plant-based meat burger designed to replicate the flavor and texture of a hamburger patty – in 50 Freshippo stores in Shanghai. The brand will later roll out the product more broadly, starting with select locations in Beijing and Hangzhou in September, it said in a statement.
This marks Beyond Meat’s first foray into mainland China’s supermarkets since entering the market in April. Earlier this year, Beyond Meat announced launches with Starbucks and Yum China, the local owner of some of the country’s most popular fast-food restaurants, to introduce new menu items containing its plant-based proteins. The brand said its products were available at approximately 94,000 retail and foodservice outlets in 75 countries worldwide, as of the first quarter of this year.
“We are proud to partner with Alibaba’s Freshippo, a dominant player in the retail space, to introduce our hallmark Beyond Burger to home cooks throughout China,” said Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat. The company said its Beyond Burger is not just limited to burgers, but can be adapted into Chinese recipes, including for fried rice and noodles as well as dumplings.
“We know that retail will be a critical part of our success in China, and we’re pleased to mark this early milestone within a few months of our market entry. Following recent food-service announcements with Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in China, as well as our distribution partnership with Sinodis, expanding into retail is the natural next step in building our market presence,” Brown said.
Zhao Jiayu, senior director and head of merchandising at Freshippo, expressed excitement over the future possibilities of this collaboration between a pioneering brand in the plant-based meats segment and an innovation-driven supermarket reimagining the future of grocery shopping. She said Freshippo would offer the brand a seamless, online-to-offline platform to reach its young and affluent consumer base.
“Beyond Meat and Freshippo share a vision of bringing innovative shopping experiences and products to our customers. Freshippo’s New Retail technology will enable plant-based meat to grow in China by meeting the modern Chinese consumer’s expectations whether they are shopping online or offline,” said Zhao.