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Plant-based meats in China are just getting started

Plant-based meats in China are just getting started

May 6, 2023

Youkuai Group International, a leading plant-based food company in China, has agreed to a strategic partnership with Usource, a Beijing-based food distributor, to expand the availability of plant-based meat products across North China.

The strategic alliance is a significant first step for both companies as they set up for a burgeoning market for alternative protein products in China. To realize the mission of creating a 'More Good' world and providing healthier and more sustainable dining options to consumers, Youkuai and Usource will supply its diverse range of Zrou plant-based meat products to top diners, breweries, hotels, and other food outlets across Beijing and Tianjin, as well as in other regions of North China.

Zrou, a brand created by chefs, is a favorite of top F&B professionals across China. Some of its best-known products are ground meat, burger patties, meatballs, and chicken nuggets. In 2021, Zrou announced a strategic alliance with Accor Group to bring innovation to the hospitality dining arena. Already Zrou has been served in more than 160 locations across 18 cities, from school and corporate canteens to five-star hotels and popular restaurants.

Usource is an importer, processor and distributor of all-natural fresh foods headquartered in Beijing, whose clients include hundreds of leading hotel, restaurant, supermarket, and e-commerce platforms. Previously Usource was a distributor for Zhen Meat and Beyond Meat in Northern China. "We're extremely excited to roll out Zrou to our existing customers, who demand the highest quality products," says Will Kerins, Usource's Co-founder. "Zrou's brand and products have been on our radar since they started, and we believe their latest product iterations are the tastiest in the market. Given Zrou's product quality and brand strength, we're extremely excited to bring them on board and offer them to our customers."

Usource is also incubating its plant-based cheese brand "Grassroots", the first of its kind in China. "Grassroots is in the process of building out its production capabilities for products including shredded mozzarella, sliced cheddar, chèvre, and dulce de leche, among others," said Kerins. "Business synergies are an essential part of our corporate strategy, and Zrou will serve as a great complement to both our established and developing product pipelines."

"This is the start of a new food movement, and it's going to be driven by better products at great value for the Chinese customer," added Franklin Yao, Founder & CEO of Youkuai. "Finding partners that care about the entire customer experience as much as we do continue us on a path to addressing food safety and food security, one dish at a time."

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