Beyond Meat CEO Says COVID-19 No Obstacle As It Expands In China

Beyond Meat Inc BYND CEO Ethan Brown said Wednesday that the company’s push into international markets such as China hasn't been dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Happened: “When you see an obstacle like Covid, you don’t say you’re not going to do it, you say ‘How am I going to do it?’ and work on a solution,” Brown said in an interview with CNBC.

The chief executive appreciated the assistance of Micky Pant, former CEO of Yum China Holdings Inc YUMC for helping with the company’s Chinese foray. Pant currently serves as a senior advisor to the plant-based protein company.

The two production facilities will be built in Jiaxing Economic & Technological Development Zone, near Shanghai, the company announced Tuesday.

Full production is expected to begin early next year. “I will work very hard to make sure that we’re not exporting American taste,” Brown told CNBC.

Why It Matters: Beyond shares have risen 9.8% so far this week with the news of expansion in China and nearly 83% on a year-to-date basis. Brown said in the interview he doesn't pay much attention to the market’s reaction.

The California-based company forged a retail partnership with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA in July to sell its Beyond Burger in China.

The company already offers its products in China through Starbucks Corporation SBUX and Yum China restaurant chains such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

The lucrative Chinese market is also a target for Beyond’s rivals Impossible Foods and Zhenmeat.

Price Action: Beyond Meat shares closed 2.75% higher at $138.17 on Wednesday and fell 0.12% in the after-hours session.

Posted In: ChinaCNBCEthan Brownplant-based meatNewsRetail SalesEventsGlobal