China's pork void brings Impossible opportunities for mock meat

American plant-based purveyors prepare alternatives in wake of African swine fever


Alex Fang, Nikkei Asian Review

November 08, 2019


NEW YORK -- Chinese consumers may soon be able to get a taste of plant-based pork products from Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and others poised to enter a meat market traumatized by African swine fever.


American mock-meat producer Impossible Foods is working on pork-related products and talking to potential partners for a speedy entry into China, while Hong Kong-based alternative-protein retailer Green Common, a distributor for Nasdaq-listed and U.S.-based Beyond Meat, will launch a store on Alibaba Group Holding's Tmall online shopping site later this month.


Entering the Chinese market will allow the meat-substitute brands to capitalize on a void of pork products created by the deadly swine fever that broke out last year, which has led China to cull over 1 million of its pigs. According to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. National Pork Board, pork production in China will dive further next year and will not rebound to 2019 levels until 2025.


Impossible Foods, the California-based company behind the Impossible Burger, has already developed several prototypes of plant-based pork.


"We want to enter China as soon as we possibly can," CEO Pat Brown told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday at the China International Import Expo, where the company's booth will serve some 50,000 of its signature burgers.


China "consumes 28% of the world's meat supplies, by far the biggest consumer of meat in the world," Brown said. "It has always been, I would say, the most important country for our mission."


Also on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Green Common announced it will debut more than 40 plant-based items on Tmall later this month, during the e-commerce platform's Black Friday event.


Alongside products from partners like Canadian brand Gardein, Green Common's online store in China will also market Omnipork, a minced pork substitute made of soy and rice and developed by Green Common subsidiary Right Treat...