The Beyond Meat plant-based patty is hitting Alibaba’s Freshippo stores in Shanghai this summer, the company said in a statement sent to TechNode on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The US alternative protein company is keen to tap into China’s market, but is facing competition from local players like Starfield and Z-Rou.

  • By collaborating with Alibaba’s popular “new retail” online and offline stores, it is placing itself on the radar of China’s urban consumers.
  • In addition to regular consumers, Freshippo, known as Hema, targets a more upscale clientele with pricey imported goods, which make up 40% of its offerings, according to the company. Beyond Meat’s price tag is unlikely to turn away these wealthier consumers.

“Beyond Meat and Freshippo share a vision of bringing innovative shopping experiences and products to our customers.”

—Zhao Jiayu, senior director and head of merchandising at Freshippo

Details: The plant-based patty will be available at 50 Freshippo stores in Shanghai starting in early July.

  • Another 48 stores in Hangzhou and Beijing will sell the plant-based patty in September 2020, the company said.
  • The companies will host a launch event in Shanghai on July 18 including a live cooking demo, samples, and giveaways.

READ MORE: We tried Beyond Meat in China. Did anyone else?

Context: The imitation beef patty is a tough sell in China, where pork massively outranks beef in popularity and vegetarians are scarce.

  • Beyond Meat entered the Chinese market in April, launching a plant-based menu at Starbucks.
  • It followed with limited-edition collaborations with Yum China. In June, Beyond Meat products were available at KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
  • Founded in 2015, Freshippo has a presence in more than 20 cities in China.
  • Two thirds of Freshippo’s sales are via its mobile app, which counts 846 million monthly active users as of March 2020, according to Alibaba.
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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.

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