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Demand for plant-based meat surges in China

1.5 min read
AUTHOR: Matt Ridout

The demand for plant-based meat is surging in China, as the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about animal-diseases encourage consumers to adapt their diets. With growth in China already predicted to be huge prior to the pandemic, many plant-based protein producers are lining up to fill the demand.

As reported in SupChina, vegetarian meat alternatives were already on track for major growth in China before the pandemic, with consultancy Euromonitor predicting China’s plant-based meat market would grow from around $10 billion in 2018 to nearly $12 billion by 2023.

This growth along with a significant outbreak in swine fever that wiped out the pork market last year, and the link between coronavirus outbreaks and meat processing plants is helping to contribute to a huge change in the mindset of the population in China.

A consumer survey conducted by a New Zealand research institute in 2017 suggested 39% of Chinese people are reducing their meat intake. A 2019 study published in the academic journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems found that, of Chinese respondents, “62.4% were very or extremely likely” to purchase plant-based meat. The authors of the latter study do note that the average Chinese respondent was “disproportionately urban, high income, and well-educated” in comparison to the national average.

These combined factors have seen plant-based giants like Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods launch their products on the Chinese mainland. These internationally recognised brands are seeing competition from local producers as well, with Chinese companies like Whole Perfect Food, OmniFoods, and Zhenmeat offering their own alternatives to meet the increasing demand in China for plant-based meat alternatives.