Beijing-based plant-based meat maker Zhenmeat is seeking up to $2 million in funding from investors across the globe, as it tries to capture the rising demand for meat alternatives in China, the company's co-founder Vince Lu told Bloomberg in an interview on Monday.
"If we substitute around 10% of real meat consumption in China, it's [going to] be very big," Lu said of the estimated value of the plant-based meat markets in the country, adding that it's difficult to pin an exact number.
Plant-based drinks already substitute for around 15% of the dairy market, Lu told Bloomberg, explaining why the market could be lucrative for investors.
Why It Matters
The local meat substitute industry was worth about $910 million in 2018, according to The Good Food Institute data, 14.2% higher than the previous year. For comparison, the same industry in the United States was worth about $684 million.
This fact makes the Chinese market very lucrative for established US-based meat-substitute companies like Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) and Impossible Foods, and both companies are trying to make inroads into the country.
While the U.S. companies may have an advantage of having existed a lot longer, the Chinese counterparts have the upper hand in understanding the local palate.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have both focused on making beef-based burgers. Meanwhile, the Chinese counterparts are focusing on pork alternatives, including making dumplings, mooncakes, and meatballs, Reuters noted earlier.
Lu told Bloomberg that the company is focused on increasing the volume of their production.
"Volume production is...going to be the most important thing if we ever want to partner with a big name, big chain restaurant in China. [To] meet up with the volume they need..we need to partner with a big food manufacturer," Lu said.
The Zhenmeat founder also said that he welcomed the entry of American rivals in the country.
"We have the same vision and the same results we want to achieve. So, it's gonna be better if they enter [the] Chinese market as soon as possible."