It’s been a big year for JUST and we wanted to close out 2018 with a bang, so just before the holidays, we announced that we’re set to become the first major U.S. food tech startup to enter mainland China.
Our award-winning JUST Egg will begin rolling out in the first half of 2019 through a multi-channel approach encompassing e-commerce, retail and foodservice — and we’ve got some incredible partners lined up. Some of the first include supermarket and food delivery service Hema and e-commerce platform Tmall.com, both owned by Alibaba; online marketplace JD.com, specialty retailer Citysuper and healthy restaurant chain Hunter Gatherer.
Why China? The country is home to roughly 20% of the world’s population and is uniquely positioned to benefit from JUST Egg. Plant-based foods are increasing in popularity among Chinese consumers and more sustainable eating is becoming part of a national dialogue about the feeding the country in the future. China produces about 435 billion eggs per year and demand for protein is increasing.
Urbanization, population growth and higher incomes are accelerating that demand, yet available arable land is diminishing. Plus, the key ingredient for JUST Egg, which cooks and tastes like conventional eggs, is mung bean — a dietary and agricultural staple in China and other parts of Asia — and its ingredients require 70% less surface and groundwater and have a 40% lower carbon footprint than chicken egg production.
People who have tasted JUST Egg in a variety of popular Chinese dishes — including business partners, investors, government officials, media and influencers we invited to a special evening of food and music in Shanghai — are eager to make it part of their diet.
As our CEO Josh noted during the December event: “It’s hard to express in words how palpable the energy and enthusiasm for what we’re doing is in China…This is about food security, the thousand-year old tradition of eating mung bean re-imagined and the pure joy of trying something that is delicious, healthy and new.” Our China General Manager Cyrus Pan added: “The health and safety attributes of JUST Egg are well-aligned with modern Chinese consumption trends. This product has the potential to bring a food revolution to China very soon.”
Cyrus, who joined JUST in July after 20 years of working for multinational corporations in China including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Diageo, has quickly established a presence for JUST in Shanghai and Beijing and his growing team is working to bring on more partners ahead of JUST Egg’s launch there next year. We’ll keep you posted on our progress and thanks as always for being part of our increasingly international community.