(Updated May 29, 2020) Cargill recently successfully trialed vegan nuggets at three KFC locations in China. The meat giant is now planning to roll out a whole range of plant-based products in the country.
Cargill’s plant-based nuggets—available for a limited time period from KFC locations in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou—sold out quickly.
For the first trial day in Shanghai, pre-sale coupons—which were required for participating in the trial—sold out within one hour. More than 7,000 pre-sale coupons were purchased via the KFC app.
Following this success, Cargill is launching a new brand called PlantEver. It also plans to provide more plant-based products to China’s foodservice sector.
PlantEver will be available from the end of June, from both online and offline retailers.
Jackson Chan, the managing director of Cargill Protein China, said in a statement: “the launch is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing to innovate.”
Speaking ahead of the KFC vegan nugget launch, Elizabeth Gutschenritter—managing director of Cargill’s alternative protein team—said that the company, which is one of the world’s biggest meat producers, had created “some of the best tasting products available in the plant-based category today.”
She added: “we’ve combined our deep knowledge of plant proteins with our expertise in R&D, product development and production to deliver products consumers will love.”
Growing Demand For Vegan Meat
The demand for vegan protein is growing in China. According to Euromonitor, China’s “free-from meat” market, which includes vegan meat, could be worth nearly $12 billion by 2023. In 2018, the market was worth just under $10 billion.
Cargill isn’t alone. Beyond Meat has also launched its vegan meat products in China. Last month, Starbucks launched three new pasta and lasagna dishes made with Beyond Meat in more than 3,300 Chinese locations. The coffee giant also added two dishes made with vegan pork by Hong Kong-based company Omnipork.
Across Asia, interest in vegan meat is rising. Beyond Meat also distributes its plant-based products in Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
A spokesperson for Beyond Meat told the BBC: “We see Asia as a key region for strategic long-term growth and Beyond Meat’s goal is to have localized production within Asia by the end of 2020.”