All G Foods, the fledgling Australian plant-based meat business, is setting up a subsidiary in China.

The company, set up in 2020, is looking to build a presence in Asia to supplement its growing business in Australia, founder and CEO Jan Pacas told Just Food.

Next month, All G Foods plans to start shipping products to Singapore and Thailand where it will sell via distributors.

However, the company is in the process of recruiting for an executive to lead its push into China, where it plans to set up an office by July.

“China is a big, big priority for us. It’s 1.4 billion, big market. Australian food has a premium perception in China, both meat and dairy. If you look at a kind of ten-year horizon, then the biggest market globally will be China, not the US, so we want to be in China,” Pacas said today (13 January).

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China, the world’s largest consumer of pork, is seeing its own market for plant-based meat rapidly develop. It’s still small compared to markets in North America and western Europe but a number of domestic players have emerged, while multinationals ranging from Cargill to Nestlé are investing in the market.

All G Foods is looking to start selling products in Shanghai in the second half of next year, starting with alternatives to pork mince and chicken for foodservice customers.

Manufacturing will take place in Singapore before being shipped to China. “We want to build a factory or find a manufacturer in China within the next 12 months,” Pacas said.

The company wants to keep pace with other businesses spending to grow their presence in the country, he explained.

“All the international players are investing heavily,” Pacas said. “We don’t want to be left behind. Nestlé is building a factory, Unilever as well. Beyond Meat as well. It’s still very, very early days. Brands are paying attention so we absolutely want to be there as well.”

All G Foods sells its soy-based burgers through retail customers that include major Australian grocer IGA as well as 500 restaurants.

One of Australia’s two largest retailers, Woolworths and Coles, is set to follow in the next four months, Pacas said. The company is also looking to launch more products domestically, including alternatives to mince, sausages and chicken.

In September, All G Foods closed a seed funding round worth AUD16m (US$11.9m). Backers included The Clean Energy Innovation Fund, a vehicle set up by the Australian government, which put AUD5m into the business.

By May, Pacas is looking for All G Foods to raise another tranche of cash, which he estimated at “a minimum of AUD50m”.

He added: “We need more capex. Our plans have grown faster and even the board has encouraged us to go faster, go more aggressively.”