Californian vegan meat company Beyond Meat has announced on April 7 that it will open its first production facility in China in the Jiaxing Economic and Technological Development Zone near Shanghai. 

Producing a range of plant-based proteins, the facility will be the company’s first in China, following on the heels of its first overseas expansion in the Netherlands announced in June. It will provide faster direct access to the region, improve the cost structure and sustainability of Beyond Meat operations, and incorporate new R&D capabilities for product development, the company said in a statement

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“We are committed to investing in China as a region for long-term growth, and we believe this new manufacturing facility will be instrumental in advancing our pricing and sustainability metrics as we seek to provide Chinese consumers with delicious plant-based proteins that are good for both people and planet,” said Ethan Brown, chief executive and founder of Beyond Meat. 

According to fDi Markets data, the manufacturing project in Jiaxing is worth an estimated $55.5m and is projected at creating 267 jobs.

A cog in the machine of expansion efforts

The opening of the Jiaxing plant comes amidst broader expansion efforts in China and elsewhere. Just one year before this announcement, Beyond Meat initiated its first operations in the country in its partnership with Starbucks China. Since then, the company has collaborated with other notable brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Jindingxuan, GangLi Beijing, Slow Boat Brewery, Hema and Metro China. 

In November 2020, the company’s Los Angeles and Shanghai teams joined efforts to launch Beyond Pork, a plant-based pork substitute, as their first product designed specifically for the Chinese market. 

“Our goal is to have production up and running in the [Asia-Pacific] region as quickly as possible, so we can compete effectively in this very important market for us over many years to come,” Charles Muth, chief growth officer of Beyond Meat, told fDi in September

Beyond Meat’s recent investment announcements in China accompany large-scale European expansion projects for the company. In June 2020, it announced the opening of its Zandbergen World’s Best Meats co-manufacturing facility in Zoeterwoude, Netherlands, as well as the acquisition of its first-ever European manufacturing facility in Enschede, Netherlands. Designed to work in tandem, the Dutch facilities were established to allow for efficient end-to-end manufacturing and distribution for the European market. 

The Dutch Beyond Meat manufacturing projects were worth an estimated $41.9 million and created 57 jobs, according fDi markets data.