Yum China and Beyond Meat come together to serve plant-based burgers at the Chinese KFC

Fake meat is the future. Here's why
As of Wednesday, the plant-based protein maker is testing its fake beef burgers with Chinese customers through a new partnership with Yum China (YUMC), which owns some of the country’s most popular fast food chains.

Yum China, who is the local owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, plans to shake the franchise menus for a few days this month as part of a test that could lead to a wider launch later on.

The test marks the debut of Beyond Meat’s hamburger in mainland China, a significant step for the Californian company. Previously it offered only other alternative meat products in the country.

KFC is launching Beyond Burgers in some of its locations on Wednesday in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

Pizza Hut will also debut the product, which is the chain’s first foray into burgers in China. Diners who are part of the Pizza Hut loyalty program in Shanghai will be able to try a new combined meal that includes both the vegetable-based Beyond offer and another burger with real steak.

Taco Bell’s offering will be more subtle, with a new taco that folds up into Beyond’s hamburger pie alongside its classic ingredients, such as chipotle and black beans.

Unlike the other tests, the Pizza Hut program starts next week.

Overall, the tests are quite limited, running only for a handful of stores in each franchise for a few days. It’s small, considering that Yum China has nearly 9,300 restaurants in 1,400 cities, including its other brands outside the three fast food chains.

If all goes well, the company will explore “large-scale implementations in the future,” said CEO Joey Wat in a statement.

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Yum China has been working to cash in on the trend of fake meat through a series of tests in recent months, including a KFC plant-based chicken nugget test earlier this year and a limited series of pork-based tacos. vegetable in Taco Bell last year.

“We see great potential for the plant-based meat market in China,” added Wat. “This latest introduction between the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands is expected to capture valuable consumer feedback in different regions of China.”

Beyond Meat, meanwhile, has recently made its way into the vast Chinese market. In April, the company collaborated with Starbucks (SBUX) offer Chinese customers a lasagna made with its beef substitute.

In a statement this week, Beyond Meat’s CEO, Ethan Brown, called the company’s new partnership an “important milestone” in its global ambitions.

The startup’s biggest rival, Impossible Foods, also reported plans for a launch in China, and previously said it was looking for partners who could help it enter the market.


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