Manufacturing News

Plant Plus plans to build China sales network

With plant-based meat becoming a popular choice for Chinese consumers, Plant Plus, the Singapore-based manufacturer in this category, plans to build a sales network in 15 Chinese provinces during the country's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), said its executives.

As the name suggests, plant-based meat substitutes are made from plants and especially designed to look, taste and cook like real meat. These plant-based alternatives can be made into Chinese pastries like dumplings and meat buns, as well as burgers, nuggets and sausages, for instance.

Backed by 470 million yuan ($73.65 million) of investment, Plant Plus, owned by Singapore's PFI Foods Co Ltd, currently runs a manufacturing base in Shucheng county, Lu'an, East China's Anhui province, and four warehouses in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Dongguan, Guangdong province. It will put an innovation center into operation in Shanghai by the end of June 2021.

Eager to seize more market share, the brand is investing another 350 million yuan to build a cold-chain logistics park in Shucheng county to facilitate its sales and logistics services in the coming year. The new facility is expected to be operational in 2024.

With tailor-made recipes based on Chinese culinary needs as part of efforts to bank on rising demand from consumers in the country, the high-tech plant-based products are set to enhance the quality of consumers' lives and promote sustainable growth in China, said Randy Tan, CEO of PFI Foods Co Ltd.

"There has been a surge in interest among Chinese consumers for healthy, flavorsome and environmentally-friendly meat alternatives in recent years," he said, adding the company's plant-based products have focused on innovations to ensure we provide authentic plant based alternatives to pork and chicken, which are most popular within the Chinese culinary spectrum.

Plant Plus products for retail consumers include dumplings, steamed stuffed buns, spaghetti bolognese, beef mince and pork mince, chicken nuggets and sausages, and have been designed to cater to the Chinese diet in a number of scenarios, such as family dinners, office workers, late-night overtime crunchers and three-generation families.

"As a Singaporean protein alternative manufacturer, Plant Plus is more familiar with Asian diets and cuisine. But the key is how to better integrate our products into Chinese ways of cooking and to make them taste really authentic," said Edmund Yap, the company's vice-president for commercial.

In addition to expanding its e-commerce channels on platforms such as Alibaba's Tmall, Plant Plus, with 150,000 metric tons of annual production capacity, to date sells its products in more than 5,000 stores and supermarkets, and more than 10,000 restaurants in 12 major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou.

"With global meat consumption rising, there is a growing demand for plant-based meat in China. This has created growth momentum for global players, as Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated on the food they eat," said Guo Xin, a marketing professor at Beijing Technology and Business University.

According to a report published this month by research company Markets and Markets (M&M), the global plant-based meat market is projected to reach $8.3 billion by 2025. The report said that in the Asia-Pacific region, plant-based food products are gaining popularity as more people adopt healthy lifestyles and consumers opt for natural ingredients.

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