Plant-based meats become an investment hotspot — Sophie’s Kitchen perfects its manufacture process to sell plant-based seafood to European and American markets

With the continuous growth of the global population, it has become increasingly difficult to produce enough meat to satisfy global demands. Moreover, animal agriculture and meat processing also damage the environment.

Therefore, 100 % plant-based meats that look and taste exactly like real meat has begun to emerge.

How big is the market for plant-based meats? It is reported that 4% of the world’s population are vegetarians, and this number is on the rise. According to the Vegetarian Association, the U.S. plant-based meat market in 2016 was worth $5 billion and contributed $13.7 billion in sales to the U.S. economy. This is only the U.S. data. The plant-based meat industries in the UK, France, Germany, and other countries are also developing rapidly.

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We learned that the research and development of plant-based protein products and their producers, including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have received tremendous financial support, and the number of new companies is also increasing. But these companies place more focus on replacing normal meat products.

Sophie’s Kitchen, which has recently drawn attention from 36Kr, expressed interest in another vertical market for plant-based meats — plant-based seafood, which uses vegan raw materials to mimic the taste, smell, and nutrition of seafood.

Yaoxin Wang, the founder of Sophie’s Kitchen, told the reporter from 36Kr that he chose to enter the seafood market because many people from all over the world are allergic to seafood, and the demand is relatively strong.

According to an epidemiological survey, the number of people allergic to seafood products in the United States has reached 6.9 million, accounting for 2.3% of its total population. The epidemiological survey of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incident rate of food allergies in Chinese adults is as high as 6%. The survey identified the major allergens as seafood products and eggs. In addition, the seafood meat structure is more difficult to imitate and has certain technical thresholds.

Sophie’s Kitchen focuses on the imitation of seafood meat structure. This technology is relatively mature. The raw material it uses to substitute fish meat is pea protein powder, and the raw material for substituting soft shell seafood is konjac and seaweed powder. Wang told 36 Kr that they applied for a number of patents for the processing technology. The production process of soft shell seafood substitutes completely differs from the production process of fish substitutes. After completing the imitation of the fleshy structure, Sophie’s Kitchen will optimize taste and nutrients in the next step.

Sophie’s Kitchen’s products are processed in a factory in Taiwan, with a capacity of about 10 tons per month, mainly producing seafood and plant-based meat products. Its products have successfully entered more than 1,000 European and American supermarkets through vendors, with an annual revenue of about 1 million USD.

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Wang told 36 Kr that although their products generate high profits, Sophie’s Kitchen is still limited by the scale of its business and is looking for U.S. investments to finance its expansion. He hopes to increase its number of product carriers to 2,000 and generate a profit of 2 million USD in 2018.

Unlike other plant-based seafood producers who target the restaurant industry, Sophie’s Kitchen mainly sells products through supermarkets.

The Sophie’s Kitchen team currently consists of four people. Its CEO Yaoxin Wang has an MBA from the Columbia Business School, as well as over 20 years of experience in plant-based manufacturing.

All information and photos come from Jiuchisu:https://www.jiuchisu.com/NeWs/17447.htm

Translated by Jiajia Han and Sherry Yao, and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

Vegetarian cyclers ride across China to promote a low-carbon, vegetarian lifestyle

Hotpot is a must-have food for those traveling to Shancheng, Chongqing. Tiejun Xie and his fellow cyclers also enjoyed vegetarian hotpot as their first meal upon arriving in Chongqing.

In fact, starting from August 7th in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, in the past month, they cycled for nearly 3,000 kilometers, solely fueled by vegetarian food. Early in the morning on September 10th, cyclers in the “Cycle Vegetarian Journey,” which promotes low-carbon life, just departed from Chongqing to resume their journey and will soon begin their return journey.

1. Why be a vegetarian cycler?

Yucheng Jiang, the organizer of this vegetarian cycling movement, defines vegetarian cycling as an outdoor public welfare activity. It has been held for the third consecutive year. Every year, cyclers ride thousands of miles to promote a low-carbon, healthy lifestyle.

The original intention of Jiang Yucheng and his fellow cyclers was quite simple. He found today’s environmental crises and public health issues worthy of attention. Everyone hopes to do something about it. Vegetarianism and cycling are crucial components of a low-carbon, healthy lifestyle.

Cycling the healthy and low-carbon way: Jiang Yucheng said that in the food production process, vegetarian foods generate much lower carbon emissions than meat. If vegetarian foods can sufficiently fuel cyclers’ immense energy expenditures, normal people can definitely be healthy and strong on a vegetarian diet.

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Delicious vegetarian dishes enjoyed by these cyclers @crl.net

2. Can only vegetarian participate?

This time, after cycling back to his hometown, because he has his own business in Jiangsu, he found it unrealistic to devote all his time to cycling. “Each segment of the journey lasts 7 days. I participate in 4 of them. After all, I have to take time to go back and take care of my work. When exiting from Wuxi, we had 22 people — friends of all ages in various industries, including college students, entrepreneurs, doctors, etc. Some have left, while new people have joined.

Upon arriving in Chongqing, the group consisted of 19 people, and 7 planned on completing the entire ride. Among those taking part in the journey, some have been vegetarian for over ten years. Those who are not vegetarians are also welcome, as long as they are willing to participate and eat vegetarian during the journey.

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@crl.net

3. Vegetarians don’t have enough nutrition?

Jiang Yucheng said that during the ride, both their vegetarian diet and exercise are carried out scientifically. The team plans the route for the next day in advance everyday and adjusts according to road conditions. Their diet plan has been designed by dietitians to ensure sufficient nutritional supply.

All information comes from Xinhua News: http://www.cq.xinhuanet.com/2018-09/10/c_1123404607.htm

All photos come from crl.cn: http://cq.cri.cn/20180910/f1f9af08-c725-41c8-6661-8ab67a495c31-3.html

Translated by Sherry Yao and edited by Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue