Eat Just, Inc., a United States-based food technology firm, announced Tuesday a $25 million investment and strategic partnership with Alibaba Group-backed private equity firm C2 Capital Partners (C2).

Eat Just said in a statement that the deal is C2’s first investment and partnership in the alternative protein sector and the relationship is currently supporting Eat Just’s go-to-market strategies, sales, branding, consumer insights, hiring and regulatory approach in China.

Today’s announcement follows the inclusion of both of Eat Just’s core product categories – plant-based eggs and cultivated meat – in China’s national blueprint for food security, part of the country’s wide-ranging five-year plan, for the first time.

China is the world’s largest egg producing country, accounting for more than 30 percent of the global market and is the largest consumer of meat on Earth, making up about 30 percent of that industry.

“We are grateful to partner with C2 to grow our business in China. Their unique market insights and know-how include logistics, branding, marketing omni-channel sales and distribution and last-mile delivery,” said Josh Tetrick, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eat Just.

Eat Just is a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology on a mission to create healthier, more sustainable foods. The company’s expertise, from functionalizing plant proteins to culturing animal cells, is powered by a team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines.

The firm created one of America’s fastest-growing egg brands, which is made entirely of plants, and the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock.

The firm’s popular plant-based egg brand, JUST Egg, launched in China on e-commerce platforms like Alibaba-owned in 2019 and since then has been growing its brand and business, primarily in Shanghai.

GOOD Meat, which is real, high-quality meat made from cells, won regulatory approval and is being sold in Singapore, but the company has had preliminary conversations with Chinese officials and is preparing for market-entry in the United States.

“We are excited to support alternative protein pioneer Eat Just’s mission and to accelerate the growth of their innovative products and technologies in China by leveraging the unique insights and resources of the C2/Alibaba ecosystem,” said C2 Managing Partner Steve Lin. C2 was established in 2018 to provide growth capital and operational support for companies to scale in China.

Beyond online sales of JUST Egg in China, nearly 30 popular street vendors throughout Shanghai sell plant-based versions of jianbing, which is like a crêpe and is one of the country’s most popular and convenient breakfast foods. The vendors, who sometimes sell thousands of JUST Egg jianbing per week, are listed in a specially designed WeChat mini program that allows users to gift JUST Egg jianbing coupons to their friends.

In addition, a custom-built JUST Egg caravan has made frequent appearances at weekend markets around Shanghai, and in 2020, the company opened China’s first plant-based culinary studio where chefs from some of the city’s best restaurants taught people how to cook delicious plant-based dishes without sacrificing flavor, nutrition and quality.

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