China Focus: Pinduoduo cold chain, cultured meat and seafood updates and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Pinduoduo's patent-pending cold chain system, cultured meat and seafood updates, and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Pinduoduo's patent-pending cold chain system, cultured meat and seafood updates, and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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See more news on Pinduoduo's patent-pending cold chain system, cultured meat and seafood updates, and more in this edition of China Focus.

Farm to consumer: Strong demand for vegetables and fruits on Duo Duo Grocery using Pinduoduo’s patent-pending cold-chain logistics system

Duo Duo Grocery (DDG), the next day grocery delivery service by China’s largest agriculture platform Pinduoduo (PDD) is seeing strong demand for fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to its patent-pending cold-chain logistics system.

Preston Zhang, executive director of corporate development at Pinduoduo told FoodNavigator-Asia​, the launch of DDG was inspired by a shift in consumer habits.

During COVID-19, consumers had increasingly turned to buying groceries online due to inconveniences and concerns about shopping in crowded wet markets. This habit stuck even as lockdowns were lifted and our partners were overwhelmed by the volume of orders over that summer​.

DDG is our way of making online grocery shopping even better, faster, and more affordable for our users.  A next-day grocery self-pickup service, DDG functions on a localised distribution model in which farmers and grocery merchants can sell directly to users in the region​.”

Closer to parity: Future Meat Technologies eyes India and China with cost-reducing cultured meat technology

Israeli cultured meat firm Future Meat Technologies has its eye on Asia as a major market for its products with China and India as key targets, after notching-up two successes in significantly lowering production costs this year.

The firm recently made headlines for first achieving a US$7.50 price point for a 110g piece of cultured chicken breast at the beginning of the year, followed closely by dropping this by almost half to US$3.90 in April.

“We have managed to bring the prices down quickly due to our proprietary technology, and importantly the process is species agnostic so this is not limited to just chicken but can also be used to make others like pork, beef and lamb,”​ Future Meat Technologies Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Professor Yaakov Nahmias told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“It’s the reason that at demonstrations, we are able to provide people trying our products with big, generous servings – whilst most other cultured meat or seafood companies out there are currently still at about US$40,000 or so per kg, we are at about US$40 per kg.

The ‘Tesla’ of plant-based foods: Watch YouKuai Group International CEO outline China strategy

China-based plant-based company YouKuai Group International is drawing inspiration from American electric car maker and clean energy firm Tesla, as it seeks to expand the business and its influence.

Founded in 2019, the firm launched Zrou, its first brand and product which takes the form of plant-based ground pork. It currently has two B2B products (ground, mince), suitable for stir-fry and filling applications respectively, as well as four D2C products (minced, ground, lasagna, "Eight Treasure" bun) retailing online and offline.

YouKuai’s founder Franklin Yao told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “We believe that this (plant-based) is not a market that is going to hit its inflection point in the next three to five months, so we don't need to win this market in the next three to five months, it's maybe closer to three to five years​.

So, we have three to five years to establish ourselves in the market, and we have a strategy that's patient and persistent​.”

Rising tides: Avant eyes retail launch of cell-based fish maw and fillet by 2025 - CEO interview

Hong Kong’s cultivated meat biotechnology firm Avant is aiming to produce its first cell-based fish maw and fillet products for consumption by late 2022, and wants products to be commonplace in supermarkets by 2025.

It first launched the cell-based fish maw prototype in 2019, and the cell-based fish fillet in 2020, and now hopes to manufacture these in a soon-to-be set up pilot plant in Singapore by late 2022.

Once it receives approval from Singapore’s regulatory body, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Avant will initially produce for foodservice first, and target the larger retail sector sometime in 2025.

Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO at Avant said the pilot plant will be producing premium fish maw, a culturally relevant food product in Asia, as well as fish fillet, which would cater to the Western cuisine.

Probiotics and CBD focus: HempFusion Wellness gears up for China and Middle East expansion

US-based health and wellness supplement company HempFusion Wellness is gearing up international expansion with plans to introduce more probiotics and CBD products in China and the Middle East.

The company owns HempFusion, the CBD brand selling hemp-based cannabidiol tinctures, capsules, topical creams and gel products, as well as the Probulin brand which sells probiotic enzymes, digestive capsules, and topical products.

Probulin first entered China through cross-border marketplace Tmall Global in March 2021, with six SKUs, targeting women, colon, immune, gut, children health (digestion).

The company now plans to double the number of products on Tmall within the next 12 months.

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