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Business trends

US investors hunt for the Beyond Meat of China

Funds tap plant protein startups in swine-fever ravaged nation

Dim sum made out of mock meat, served at Dragon-i, a restaurant in Hong Kong. (Photo courtesy of Omnipork)

NEW YORK -- The success of mock meat makers in the U.S. has investors seeking even bigger opportunities in pork-hungry China, where a swine fever epidemic is pushing up pork prices and raising questions over the sustainability of the industry.

Among those investors is Nick Cooney. When Beyond Meat surged over 160% in the strongest U.S. IPO this year, he was elated. Cooney and his team invested in the Los Angeles-based startup in 2015 when it was valued at just $147 million. The company's market capitalization now stands at over $9 billion, a sign that the future of food can be both profitable and sustainable.

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