American food startup Eat Just has reportedly secured $25 million from Chinese private equity firm C2 Capital Partners and has also entered a strategic partnership with the firm, which enjoys backing from e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The California-based firm will be utilizing the funding and the partnership to expand its business in China in terms of branding, sales, go-to-market strategies, hiring, consumer insights, as well as in regulatory approach in the country.
The startup, which offers plant-based egg alternatives, entered China three years ago.
Josh Tetrick, Co-founder, and CEP of Eat Just, stated that the firm would specifically benefit from Alibaba’s experience of building a team from the basics as well as its pool of consumer insights.
The firm was founded in 2011 and has raised more than $400 million from investors such as Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures and Khosla Ventures.
Tetrick informed that the startup’s signature mung bean-based eggs are listed on Alibaba’s e-commerce website for sale in China.
He added that the company plans to file for approval for its cultivated meat, made from lab-grown real animal cells with Chinese regulators later this year.
Eat Just received sales approval for its lab-grown meat in Singapore back in 2020, with Tetrick stating that the result so far has been ‘wonderful’ there.
However, China is a relatively tough market, with the Californian firm’s customers being typically young and well-educated people from metropolitan cities like Shanghai.
Steve Lin, Managing Partner, C2, stated that the idea that the alternative protein sector can help accomplish the country’s carbon peaking and neutralization goals has gained widespread acceptance.
He conveyed that their ESG benefits strike a chord with young consumers interested in trying new food that aligns with their values and has a good nutrition profile.
Tetrick believes that the firm’s biggest competition in the country is the conventional eggs and meat, which are cheaper than the startup’s offerings by a high margin.
In order to make its products cheaper, the firm has to set local production to minimize logistics costs, which take up the largest part of its total operational costs.