As the incomes of Mainland Chinese rise, the nation has become the world’s largest single market for meat – which makes it a lucrative hunting ground for alt-meat manufacturers.
China consumes 28 per cent of the world’s meat, including half of all pork, with the average Chinese person now eating 63kg of meat a year.
Two-year-old Australian alt-meat producer V2Food stepped into China in June and has already sealed four significant partnerships with local companies, three of which will distribute the company’s products or use it as an ingredient in their foods.
With such a rapid increase in meat consumption in China, there are expectations of a corresponding hunger for alt-meat proteins as the Chinese follow the global trend towards embracing environmental issues and the impact of farming on climate change.
To appeal to Chinese consumers, V2Food has adapted the recipes of its mainstream products popular in Australia to appeal more to the Chinese palate.
“Plant-based meat in China presents a huge market potential,” says Cyrus Pan, GM at V2Food China. “V2Food understands this need for more protein, and in response, has worked closely with Chinese butchers and chefs to develop great-tasting bespoke pork, designed for the Chinese palate. V2 is the perfect choice for local partners looking to diversify their consumer offerings with a tasty plant-based alternative while staying true to cuisine that’s culturally relevant.”
Since June, V2Food has reformulated its V2Mince for Chinese consumers and is now creating ready-to-cook products, targeting consumers who are cooking and eating at home more in the post-pandemic era. Next up: dumplings, buns, lasagna, and pork rolls.
The deals signed by V2Food already include one with Shuhui, one of China’s largest steamed bun manufacturers, with 30,000 distribution points across China and another with Food Vending, which specialises in western-style ready-meals, including plant-based lasagne and sausage rolls. Another is a collaboration with Dong Chi, which makes nutritious weight management ready meals, serving over 200,000 members per month.
V2Food’s fourth partnership is with China’s first domestic food-content service platform, Duoguo, which has 62 million active users per month and almost 400 million downloads to date, which gives V2 access to a vast pool of alt-meat-curious consumers experimenting with new recipes.
“China is the world’s largest consumer of meat, so [the market] is very important for us,” says Nick Hazell, V2Food founder and CEO.
“As a global player, ensuring we align with like-minded partners is important to us as an organisation. We share our new partners’ ambition to build a better food future while paying homage to China’s rich heritage of Asian cuisine.”
V2Food was founded in January 2019 and has worked with leading CSIRO scientists to develop a unique technology and patented intellectual property in protein development that achieves great taste and nutritional food quality in plant-based protein that looks, cooks, and tastes like conventional meat.
The company’s next step in China is to work with more partners in quick-service restaurants, the foodservice sector, and caterers across a range of Chinese and Western-style dishes, at the same time as developing online and offline retail channels. Earlier this year, V2Foods secured the endorsement of one of Australia’s most famous chefs, Neil Perry, who created dishes using V2’s products in his new upscale restaurant in Sydney.