Impossible Foods Eyes Chinese Market For Continued Entry Into Multibillion Fake Meat Industry

Plant-based burger at Burcon's alternative meats protein lab in Winnipeg

The California-based maker of plant-based meat alternatives, Impossible Foods, said China is its number one priority with regard to its diversification plans into the international market. The startup is, in fact, working to speed up its venture into China.

Plant-based meat alternatives - tofu, tempeh, seitan, natto, soy, wheat, .ycoprotein among others - make up the rapidly emerging market today.  According to one estimate, the global plant-based meat market was valued at about $11.92 billion in 2018, growing to $21.23 billion by 2025.

Swiss investment firm UBS offered a more lucrative estimated at $85 billion by 2030 from the estimated $4.6 billion in 2018.  Barclay's presented the most highfaluting estimated at $1.4 trillion in the next decade. 

In the United States, analysts estimate the market to be worth $14 billion, growing to $140 billion in years to come. 

China can become a significant market into this multi-billion alternative meat industry as the country consumes 54 million tons of pork on a yearly basis.

The Asian powerhouse accounted for about 50% of the world's overall meat consumption. The country also consumed 6.44 million tons of beef in the last 20 years, importing about 60 percent of soybeans from the world over to feed the country's livestock. 

Impossible Foods has already entered Hong Kong and Macau, shipping to about 450 restaurants across Asia. Its eyes, however, are set in China as the mainland has been experiencing challenges in its meat industry due to land and water shortages. 

The startup told the audience at the Fortune Sustainability Forum at Fuxian Lake in Yunnan Province that it is already in talks with various potential Chinese partners. It hinted that it is currently in the process of completing the country's required regulatory process. 

One possible reason that Impossible Foods may want to speed up its entry to the Chinese market is that its biggest competition, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat, has yet to enter the country. 

Beyond Meat had a blockbuster initial public offering which pulls it shares up by 800%. It also has the most ambitious goals: overtaking the $270 billion real meat industry. 

Within China, whichever of the two comes first, will be facing another tough competition, the Shenzen-based Whole Perfect Foods. 

Elsewhere, traditional fast-food chains have also been eyeing the plant-based meat market. Burger King has recently announced a partnership with Impossible Foods is launching meatless Whoppers. Other food giants wanting to take a slice of the market share are Hormel, Kroger, Smithfield, and Tyson; as well as Dunkin, Tim Hortons, Subway and Dell Taco. 

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