The Business Times

Beyond Meat bites bullet, opens online store in China

Published Fri, Jul 16, 2021 · 05:50 AM


BEYOND Meat said on Thursday that it has launched an online store in China on's e-commerce platform: The plant-based meat-maker aims to boost sales in the world's biggest meat market, where consumer interest in meat alternatives is low.

The US-based company said in a statement that the store will initially help expand availability of its products in four major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai; the plan is to get into 300 cities across China.'s 18 cold-chain warehouses will provide delivery of Beyond Meat products to consumers within 48 hours of orders being placed, it said.

Its products are currently mainly available in China through its partnerships with Starbucks Corp, Yum China Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding's Freshippo markets, but expanding into the retail segment by selling on will help it reach a wider audience in the country, where online purchases of fresh food is rising.

This online sales category, into which Beyond Meat's products fall, is expected to top 300 billion yuan (S$62.8 billion) this year, a rise of 18 per cent from last year, said consultancy iiMedia Research.


Start and end each day with the latest news stories and analyses delivered straight to your inbox.


Beyond Meat's direct retail foray follows a similar December 2020 move by Nestle, which launched a range of plant-based burgers, sausages, nuggets and dishes suited to Chinese cooking.

The push by global firms comes although consumers in China are not exactly devouring plant-based meat. Independent food-industry analyst Zhu Danpeng said: "It's now a solo dance by the manufacturers. The consumers are not joining the tango."

Chinese consumers are deterred by concerns over food safety as well as taste, he said. A recent poll on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform, found that only 14 per cent of 400 participants were willing to try plant-based meat.

Nevertheless, the promise of a market with 1.4 billion people is enticing for the companies.

Beyond Meat, which has set up its first manufacturing plant outside of the US in the eastern Chinese city of Jiaxing, near Shanghai, declined comment on its sales in the market so far.

A half-kg twin pack of plant-based beef will be sold at 210 yuan on the company's JD store. By comparison, 1 kg of good-quality domestic beef costs about 140 yuan on JD's fresh food platform. REUTERS


BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to

Consumer & Healthcare


Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here