The plant-protein patty, branded as the Beyond Burger, launched in food-service outlets at the territory’s Green Common “plant-based concept” markets last week. Retail packs will also go on sale soon in the protein aisle of supermarkets there.
The roll-out will continue in May at the Butchers Club, a burger restaurant that specialises in preparing dry-aged beef, as a plant-based option that “looks, cooks and satisfies like a beef burger,” said David Yeung, co-founder of Green Monday, which operates Green Common outlets in four locations in the territory.
He said the brand’s Hong Kong launch would “mark the official beginning of the food, health and sustainability revolution in Asia”.
Yeung added: “I wouldn’t compare the Beyond Burger with other plant or meat burgers; I would compare it to the iPhone or Tesla, because it is, simply, a game-changer.”
Ethan Brown, chief executive of Beyond Meat, said the company had been resisting the urge to expand internationally as it rolled out its product in hipster havens across America, with a heavy emphasis on Whole Foods stores.
Sister-title FoodNavigator-USA spoke to Brown and other Beyond Meat executives last year after the company had launched in two American locations. He said then that the brand had been steering clear of the non-meat shelves.
“Why just settle for a slice of the multi-million dollar meat-alternatives market when you can go after a chunk of the multi-billion dollar meat market?” Brown remarked.
Since then the Beyond Burger has been rolling out across America to a “remarkable” response. Brown added that a potential partnership with Green Monday had then prompted him to abandon the America-only policy.
“Reflecting recent increases in capacity, this special opportunity in Hong Kong and our long-standing relationship with David, we are thrilled to announce this partnership. It has been gratifying to see consumers embrace the Beyond Burger in the United States, and we hope with this first step into Asia, we can bring greater awareness of the shifting protein paradigm to this vitally important economy,” he said.
One quarter-pound Beyond Burger patty contains 20 grams of plant-based protein and eschews gluten, cholesterol, soy and GMOs. Though shipped frozen, it can be kept in refrigerators for up to 10 days.
It is manufactured by California-based Beyond Meat in Missouri using a patented process to make meat replicas developed at the University of Missouri.
The company has secured financial backing from high-profile investors including General Mills’ 301 Inc venture arm, Seth Goldman, Bill Gates and Kleiner-Perkins Caulfield & Byers, as well as the Humane Society of the United States.