Yum China and Beyond Meat Team Up to Serve Herbal Burgers at Chinese KFCs

Yum China and Beyond Meat Team Up to Serve Herbal Burgers at Chinese KFCs
Starting Wednesday, the plant-based protein maker is testing its fake beef burgers with Chinese customers through a new partnership with Yum China (YUMC), which owns some of the most popular fast food chains in the country.

Yum China, which is the local owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, plans to reorganize the menus in its franchises for a few days this month as part of a test that could lead to further deployment later.

The test marks the debut of the Beyond Meat burger in mainland China, a significant step for the California-based company. Previously, it only offered other alternative meat products in the country.

KFC will launch Beyond Burgers at some of its locations on Wednesday in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

Pizza Hut will also introduce the product, which is the chain’s first foray into hamburgers in China. Diners who belong to the Pizza Hut loyalty program in Shanghai will be able to try a new combo meal that includes both Beyond’s plant-based offering and another real steak burger.

Taco Bell’s offering will be more subtle, with a new taco that doubles in the Beyond burger alongside its classic ingredients, such as chipotle and black beans.

Unlike the other tests, the Pizza Hut program begins next week.

Overall, the tests are quite limited, running only in a handful of stores in each franchise for a few days. That’s small, considering that Yum China has almost 9,300 restaurants in 1,400 cities, including its other brands outside of the three fast-food chains.

If all goes well, the company will explore “larger-scale deployments in the future,” CEO Joey Wat said in a statement.

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Yum China has been working to capitalize on the fake meat trend through a series of tests in recent months, including a plant-based chicken nugget test at KFC earlier this year and a limited series of Plant based pork tacos at Taco Bell last year.

“We see great potential for the plant-based meat market in China,” added Wat. “This latest presentation on the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands is expected to capture valuable consumer feedback in different regions of China.”

Beyond Meat, meanwhile, has recently ventured into the vast Chinese market. In April, the company United with Starbucks (SBUX) Offer Chinese customers a lasagna made from their meat substitute.

In a statement this week, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown called the company’s new partnership a “major milestone” in its global ambitions.

The startup’s biggest rival, Impossible Foods, has also designated plans for a China launch, and previously said he was looking for partners who could help him enter the market.

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