At the same time, domestic meat production is placing significant stress on the country’s environment and natural resources.
Although Chinese companies have been producing “mock meat” for decades, a new generation of start-ups are leveraging innovations in technology and marketing to challenge market incumbents and broaden the appeal of plant-based protein.
San Francisco-based JUST, backed by Peter Thiel and valued at $1 billion, is already selling vegan mung-bean “eggs” on a number of Chinese e-commerce platforms including Tmall.com and JD.com.
A growing number of Asian players are seeking to create innovative meat substitutes that are uniquely tailored to local palates and culinary traditions.
This probably explains the duo’s decision to first launch in Hong Kong and Macau, where there is stronger Western culinary influence.
Asian contenders in the meat substitute space include Omnipork, a product made from soy, pea, and mushroom protein that seeks to replicate the texture and feel of real pork.