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Beyond Meat Targets Retain Chinese Consumers By Opening JD.Com Store

Beyond Meat Targets Retain Chinese Consumers By Opening JD.Com Store
The United States based plant based alternative meat firm Beyond Meat has launched an online store in China on's e-commerce platform, the company has said.  This is a part of the strategy of the plant-based meat maker to increase sale of its products in the biggest meat market of the world where there is still low consumer interest in meat alternatives.
Initially, availability of Beyond Meat’s products in four major cities of the country - including Beijing and Shanghai, will initially be the focus for the store, the US based firm said, with the plans of eventually making its products available in more than 300 cities in China.
Delivery of Beyond Meat products to consumers within 48 hours of them placing orders will be provided from the 18 cold chain warehouses of, said Beyond Meat. Currently, the US firm makes its products available to consumers in China primarily through its tie-ups with Starbucks Corp, Yum China Holdings Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Freshippo markets.
But the company will be able to reach out to a much wider consumer base in China through the expansion into the retail segment by selling on with more Chinese consumers purchasing food products online.
According to predictions of consultancy iiMedia Research, it is expected that the sale of fresh food, which is the category that Beyond Meat's products fall, from online sources will reach more than 300 billion yuan ($46.40 billion) this year which will be an increase of 18 per cent from 2020 levels.
In a similar move in December last year, Nestle, Beyond Meat's rivalry in the market, entered into the area of direct retail through the launch of a range of plant-based burgers, sausages, nuggets and other dishes that are designed to cater to the needs of Chinese cooking.
However the demand for plant-based meat currently is still quite low among Chinese consumers. 
"Currently, it is a solo dance by the manufacturers, the consumers are not joining the tango," said Zhu Danpeng, an independent food industry analyst.
Zhu said that concerns over food safety as well as taste have deterred Chinese consumers’ interest in alternative meat. Only 14 per cent of 400 participants were willing to try plant-based meat, found a recent poll on the Sina Weibo social media platform.
Despite this the potential for business in a market that has 1.4 billion potential consumers is immense.
Beyond Meat has already set up its first manufacturing unit outside of its home market of China in the eastern Chinese city of Jiaxing, near Shanghai.
However there are also concerns about the high price of Beyond Meat’s products. On the JD store, the cost of a 0.454 kg twin pack of plant-based beef will be 210 yuan compared to the price of 1 kg of good quality domestic beef costs at about 140 yuan on the e-commerce platform of JD.
"We see that Chinese consumers pay more and more attention to healthy diet and lifestyle," James Ye, general manager of JD Fresh said. "Via our long-established advantages in supply chain, cold chain logistics, retail and omni-channels, we hope to bring Beyond Meat's healthy and high-quality products to Chinese consumers."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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