Plant-based food startup Impossible Foods will make its debut in Asia next year, CEO Pat Brown told Fortune in an interview last week.
The move would be the company’s first foray into an international market. Impossible Foods currently serves its meat-free burger in more than 300 restaurants in the U.S.
Brown said Asia is a “high priority” for the company from both a mission and business standpoint because of the continent’s population size and its growth of demand. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has said that beef consumption is projected to increase the most in East Asia and the Pacific, driven by consumption in China, between 2000 and 2030.
Impossible Foods is part of a growing cohort of startups that are using food tech to try and create meat replacements that look, taste, and behave just like the real thing as consumers increasingly look to alternatives that they believe are better for their bodies and the planet.
“We’ve always known that our mission is global,” said David Lee, Impossible Foods chief operating officer. “We’re increasingly becoming aware that the demand for the Impossible Burger here in the U.S. pales in comparison to the amount of demand across the world.”
Lee said that the company will begin in Asia by partnering with “tastemakers” with the aim of understanding “locally how tastes can allow us to eventually be at scale.”
Impossible Foods took a similar approach to its roll out in the U.S.. The Impossible Burger made its first restaurant appearance on the menu of famed chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in 2016.
Impossible Foods already has some connections to the Asian marketplace through its investor base. Singapore-based Temasek and Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures have both backed the startup, which has raised about $275 million.
“Asia is an important milestone, but frankly it’s only the beginning of our global expansion,” Lee said.