It was late 2019 when Jinzi Ham, one of the most prominent meat products companies in China, launched a 100% plant-based burger patty in partnership with DuPont’s Danisco (China) Investment. Expectations were sky-high, and the company saw a 50% increase in its share price after announcing its plant-based meat production. Unfortunately, the product sold poorly, despite 1000 pre-orders on Tmall – Alibaba’s online marketplace – and the buzz swiftly dissipated.

Nonetheless, Jinzi Ham saw alternative protein’s potential in the Chinese market and decided to change its strategy. After consulting with Lever on additional ways to incorporate alternative protein into their offerings, the company launched a blended plant-based/conventional meat product in May 2020 that replaced a portion of the meat with plant-based protein.

Chinese internet celebrity Yonghao Luo promoted the launch over a live stream and over 10,000 packs sold out in twenty minutes. It might seem a tiny victory, but for the country that consumes half of the global pork meat, it isn’t: when one of China’s most popular ham brands makes a move, it’s bound to have a significant impact.

Moving forward, Lever will keep helping China’s top meat players replace animal meat with more humane and healthy plant-based protein sources to mitigate the food sector’s impact on climate change and reduce animal suffering in Asia.


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