California’s Impossible Foods to speed up its entry into China

Photo: Reuters

Impossible Foods, a California-based producer of meat substitutes made from plants, is actively working to speed up its entry into China, its number one priority when it comes to overseas markets, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.

The firm has already launched its products in Hong Kong and Macau and now ships to 450 restaurants in Asia, but it wants to boost its presence in the Chinese mainland, where meat production is harder as a result of chronic land and water shortages, Pat O’Brown said.

He said the company was in preliminary talks with potential partners, and was hoping to find enterprises or local governments that would help bring their technology to China once the firm completes the required regulatory processes.

“China is our highest priority for future expansion, full stop,” O’Brown told Reuters on the sidelines of the Fortune Sustainability Forum at Fuxian Lake in southwest China’s Yunnan province.

“It is the biggest consumer of meat in the world,” he said. “Something like half the growth in meat consumption globally in the past 10 years or so has been in China. Effectively, the place where we can have the greatest impact on our mission is in China.”

Impossible Foods’ main rival, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat, has also yet to make a move into China. The foreign firms will also face competition from domestic companies such as Shenzhen-based Whole Perfect Foods.

O’Brown said Impossible Foods eventually aims to move some production into Asia, with the firm already looking at potential sites. He did not elaborate.

“We wish it was faster but we’ll go through it, just as we have in the United States and other places,” he said. “I am completely confident that we will make it.”

“As soon as we have gone through the process and are welcomed into China by the government, and we have partners to work with, we’re going to move as fast as we possibly can,” he added.

While China’s per capita meat consumption is much lower than the United States, demand has been increasing. It produces about 54 million tonnes of pork a year, about half the world’s total.

China’s beef production also rose to its highest level in at least 20 years last year at 6.44 million tonnes, and imports have surged. It also buys about 60% of globally traded soybeans to feed its pigs and other livestock.

The government has been trying to address environmental pressures caused by livestock farming, shutting down or relocating large numbers of poorly-managed pig and chicken farms. The state-run China Nutrition Society has even tried – with little success – to encourage the public to eat less meat and dairy.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.