Once the sole prerogative of vegans and vegetarians, plant-based meat has become a mainstream delicacy and now sizzles with taste and texture, appealing to the health-conscious, environmentally aware, and foodies alike. This shift happened thanks to advancements in research and development and technological improvements. To name one: high-moisture extrusion.

One of the keys to crafting juicy, meat-like plant-based meat is a magical machine called a “high-moisture extruder.” Plant-based brands in Europe and the U.S. have used these machines for years, but as of early 2020, no company had used them in China.

Herotein: chicken

From Launch to Leading the Way

In late 2019, Lever decided it was time Chinese consumers enjoyed high-quality meat alternatives and saw the perfect opportunity to help launch plant-based meat company HEROTEIN

Lever helped recruit the founder and staff, connected them with plant-based meat formulation experts, helped them secure startup funding, and provided ongoing strategic guidance. Lever’s support made HEROTEIN the first Chinese company to use high moisture extrusion for its plant-based chicken and beef products in the country.

Now available at popular retail locations such as Carrefour, City’Super, and Tmall, HEROTEIN’s nuggets, chicken stripes, meatballs, and burger patties are helping fulfill the company’s mission of providing healthy, tasty, and sustainable food options for every Chinese family. In 2021, HEROTEIN entered a partnership with U.S.-based cultivated fat producer Mission Barns, to launch hybrid (plant-based and cultivated combined) meat products, aiming to become the first to offer hybrid products in China. HEROTEIN also partnered with Sodexo to trial its plant-based meat at China’s schools and impressed 25 procurement managers, retail buyers, and food company executives last year at Lever China’s first tasting event in Shanghai.

We’re thrilled to have been a part of this momentous step forward by bringing game-changing high-moisture extrusion to China and helping launch HEROTEIN. This is a significant stride in driving the surge of plant-based meat products emerging in the region.

“Lever’s involvement has been invaluable to HEROTEIN on so many levels, not only in assisting us in expanding our investment network and connecting with global resources, but also in becoming the first domestic company to utilize high moisture extrusion (HME), the game-changing technology for plant-based meat of the future.”

This work happened because of the support of people like you. Please consider donating today to build a more humane and sustainable protein supply in Asia.