HONG KONG – Impossible Foods’ faux beef burgers will be sold in grocery stores in Hong Kong and Singapore, the company said as it vies to bolster its presence in Asia and before entering the potentially lucrative mainland China market.

Its Asian launch comes as the maker of plant-based meat said it was still awaiting approval from Chinese regulators. Its key ingredient, heme, made from genetically modified yeast, requires approval in China. “We are optimistic it could happen in the next year or even in the next several months,” chief executive Pat Brown told an online news conference.

In September, rival Beyond Meat said it had signed a deal to open a production facility near Shanghai, as the company ramps up its focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market.

Brown said Impossible wanted to build a complete plant-based supply chain in the country and make it a domestic industry. “They (China) could have an entirely domestic meat supply which would be great for food supply, better from a public health standpoint and vastly reduce the environmental footprint,” he said. Nick Halla, senior vice-president for international at Impossible Foods, said the use of heme in Impossible’s products was key and trying to find a substitute would not be scalable or affordable to achieve the same taste.

Impossible said it launched in about 200 grocery stores in Hong Kong and Singapore this week, a move that was accelerated by COVID-19 in the face of subdued sales to restaurants. — Reuters