Swiss food giant taps into the Chinese market with new plant-based range produced at Nestlé’s first plant-based production line in Asia
Chinese man eating new Harvest Gourmet plant-based food by Nestlé

Nestlé made its official plant-based food debut in China today with an event to celebrate the launch of Harvest Gourmet, its latest addition to its plant-based food portfolio.

The day also saw the Swiss food giant inaugurate its first plant-based production line in Asia situated in Tianjin, China, and already in full operation. The facility will primarily manufacture a wide variety of plant-based products for the foodservice industry under the Harvest Gourmet brand.

Speaking at the event, Rashid Qureshi, chairman and chief executive of Nestlé GCR, said that China is an essential global market with long and distinguished food culture. He noted that Nestlé is committed not only to bringing cutting-edge technology and high-quality products to the country but also ensuring they are localised to the needs of Chinese consumers and wider society.

Chinese food market trends

Nini Chiang, Nestlé GCR’s chief marketing officer and Head of Confectionary and Plant-Based Food, said that there is a surge in interest among Chinese consumers for healthy, flavoursome and environmentally-friendly meat alternatives in 2020.

A sourvey by GlobalData in 2019 forecasted the trend – it found that 84% of Chinese consumers seek a balanced and flexible diet that helps them stay healthy as well as look and feel good. Nestlé argued that these consumers are ideal candidates for plant-based meat alternatives that retain all the tastiness and flavour of actual meat. Nevertheless, plant-based food remains a brand-new market in China.

Nestlé said that Harvest Gourmet plant-based products are created using cutting-edge technology perfected in Europe over three decades combined with a deep understanding of Chinese consumers and their culinary needs – closely imitating the taste of actual meat such as pork and chicken.

The launch of Harvest Gourmet marks the beginning of an innovative new era of localised plant-based food in China.

Harvest Gourmet: Plant-based food with dedicated store in China

Harvest Gourmet’s official flagship store will officially open on Tmall in December, with plans afoot to gradually enter Hema offline stores in Beijing and Shanghai, starting from the end of this year.

The range comprises chicken nuggets, kung pao chicken, braised meatballs, braised pork belly, sausages and a spicy wok. Products are a spin on classic Chinese dishes and have been designed to cater to the Chinese diet in three main scenarios: family dinners, late-night overtime and three-generation families. All of the dishes can be cooked easily at home.

The four brand-new plant-based products aimed at the foodservice space are Harvest Gourmet’s plant-based burger patties, chicken nuggets, beef mince and pork mince.

The company said that Harvest Gourmet’s plant-based formula closely imitates the authentic taste of meat, and are suitable for use in both Chinese and Western cuisines.

The launch

Chinese food culture traditionally puts a great deal of emphasis on the perfect combination of colour, aroma and flavour. Guests at today’s “Unleash the Good of Plant-Based Food”-themed launch event got to see Nestlé’s interpretation of the Chinese food culture at an interactive sensory experience zone highlighting key attributes of the Harvest Gourmet brand.

Renowned chef Shuwei Lin and National Senior nutritionist Yuzhi Zhu were on hand at the event to share their own unique perspectives on the advantages of plant-based food.

They also provided useful tips on pursuing a healthy diet and easy-to-follow nutritious recipes for cooking with Harvest Gourmet plant-based products at home and in a professional setting.

Nestlé reported that both spoke highly of Harvest Gourmet products, remarking especially on their exceptional flavour.

Date published: 9 December 2020

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