Nestlé to build plant-based factory in China

Food giant Nestlé announced on Wednesday that it would invest 100 million Swiss francs in expanding its manufacturing in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area in China. According to Reuters, a part of that investment will be used to construct and open a plant-based factory facility dedicated to specialist foods, with the goal of launching its plant-based meat products in China by the end of 2020.

In 2017, by the acquisition of a vegetarian brand Sweet Earth, Nestlé was able to get into the plant-based meat industry. The food giant then launched the Incredible Burger, a burger patty found in The Big Vegan TS at McDonald’s in Germany under its Garden Gourmet brand.

China has a growing demand for plant-based meat and the market which grew 33.5% since 2014 to be worth just under $10 billion (USD) in 2018, is predicted to be an $11.9 billion industry by 2023. This shift by consumers from animal products to their plant-based alternatives can be linked to several health factors including the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Swine Flu, and environmental reasons too, and not forgetting the U.S. China trade war driving up meat prices.

Nestlé is not the only non-vegan company aiming to capitalize on China’s increased demand for plant-based products by building a plant-based factory. Cargill, one of the largest producers of feed for the animal-agricultural industry also announced plans a few weeks ago to launch a plant-based meat brand PlantEver in China, after seeing a successful trial of its plant-based chicken nuggets at three locations of fast-food chain KFC in China last month.

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