China Plant-Based Meat Brand HERO Protein Taps into High Moisture Extrusion Tech while Netting US$850K
Hero Protein, the first domestic plant-based meat company in China to use “high moisture extrusion” technology, has completed a US$850,000 pre-seed funding round to launch its products into the market. The funding round saw participation from Cremer, a global commodities and co-manufacturing company. Lever China Fund, the most active alternative protein investor in China also joined the round among senior executives from leading restaurant brands.
Hero Protein’s initial product range, which includes a variety of plant-based beef and chicken products, was formulated specifically for the Chinese market by a team of former senior R&D executives at Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Gardein, Lightlife, and Morningstar, the five largest plant-based meat brands in North America. The application of high moisture extrusion technology, which is common in western markets, but to date has not been used by domestic brands in China.
The technology is particularly critical for reproducing the juiciness and mouthfeel of meat. The funding round will be used to advance Hero Protein’s ongoing research and development, develop and scale production, and expand distribution. The company launched into the foodservice channel in China in January.
“Plant-based meat is a rising and unstoppable trend in China,” says Hero Protein CEO Edward Weng. “Hero Protein aims to bring together the advanced food technology used by top international players such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods and the domestic know-how to curate products specifically catered to the Chinese palate, at prices affordable for a broader range of Chinese consumers.”
“Hero Protein is proud to partner with leading domestic players in the ingredients, logistics, production, food, and retail industries,” adds Hero Protein COO Ludovic Shum. “By localizing the production, we ensure product quality control and keep pricing affordable, allowing for successful market penetration and growth.”