Beyond Meat signs production agreement in China

Beyond Meat will begin making plant-based meat in China later this year under an agreement announced Tuesday.

The El Segundo, California-based company said it will be the first multinational company focused solely on plant-based meat production to open a factory in China. Swiss food giant Nestle is also building a plant-based meat production facility in China, but it makes other products there.

Beyond Meat is partnering with the Jiaxing Economic and Technological Development Zone — about 75 miles from Shanghai — to design and develop two manufacturing facilities. Trial production will begin later this year, with full production expected in early 2021.

One of the facilities will be the world’s largest plant-based meat factories, Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement.

“China is one of the world’s largest markets for animal-based meat products, and potentially for plant-based meat,” Brown said.

Beyond Meat products made their Chinese debut in April at Starbucks, which sells the company’s imitation beef in lasagna, pasta and a spicy wrap. Beyond Meat products were also offered for a limited time at Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC in China. In June, Alibaba’s Freshippo grocery stores in Shanghai began selling Beyond Meat burgers.

This is Beyond Meat’s second big production expansion this year. In June, it opened a manufacturing facility in the Netherlands with its Dutch partner, Zandbergen.

Beyond Meat shares rose 3% to $129.81 in morning trading.

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