Charged by the fact China is the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s consumer market trend shows a significant shift toward a kinder and healthier living – the spurt of the plant-based sector.
While for a country that is one of the world’s biggest consumer of meat, thanks to the world’s largest population, a growing trend for veganism does not necessarily reflect a long-term and larger trend.
However, a strong inclination for the cause is certain. The nation has aimed at reducing the total meat consumption by 50 % by 2030 as per the government to fight obesity and climate change, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports.
According to a market analysis by Euromonitor International from last year, China’s plant-based meat sector is set to grow into a US$12 billion industry by 2023, from 2018’s US$10 billion.
There has also been a significant rise in the sales of vegan meat in China, with the market transiting from US$7.2 billion in 2014 to US$9.7 billion industry in 2018, as per the same report.
Moreover, the recent scrutiny on Chinese wet markets in the aftermath of the pandemic has created a stir in the meat industry with many people seeking cleaner and healthier plant-based options.
As per WHO, the novel coronavirus originated from an animal which infected the first human and lead to the mass spread that has so far infected more than 20 million globally.
SCMP noted the growing demand for vegan meat alternatives in China has resulted in a thriving market for various foreign as well as inland food-tech companies developing realistic vegan meat products.
For instance, the uber-popular plant-based meat maker from the US, Beyond Meat was successfully launched in China in association with Alibaba Group Holding at 50 Freshippo stores in Shanghai. The company has since pledged to expand into more stores across China.
Similarly, the Hong Kong-based plant-based meat maker Omni Pork announced a partnership with the American coffee-chain giant Starbucks to offer their vegan pork-based dishes in China.
Major food giants like Swiss-based Nestle has also announced plans to invest in the Chinese market. Just recently, Swiss supermarket giant Aldi China started to offer Omni Pork readymade products in Shanghai, reflecting the growth of plant-based food among the general Chinese population.
Another major Shanghainese wonton and noodle chain, Gll Wonton just recently announced all its 500 locations in Shanghai will offer vegan meat dumplings with Omni Pork, Green Queen reports.
The pandemic has certainly invoked a meat-skeptic movement or fad around the world. The novel coronavirus has also disrupted the global meat supply chain as one after the other slaughterhouses became COVID hotspots in America and Europe mostly.
According to a research prediction by the University of Missouri’s Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute, this year’s meat consumption in America will fall per-capita for the first time in 6-years, all thanks to the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
The higher price of meat, lower-income amid major economic downfall will hunt down on the demand for pork, beef, and so on, the report said.
Back in China, surveys found more and more Chinese are relaxing to ‘flexitarian’ or ‘vegetarian’ diet, SCMP reports. Two major whole food markets in China became COVID hotspots in a row adding to the growing concern for meat and related products.
“Although people are now returning back to the normal routine after Covid-19, consumers are concerned about the potential link between meat products and the virus,” Shanghai-based food-tech venture capital firm Bits x Bites’ founder and managing director Matilda Ho told SCMP.
Plant-based is helpful
A plant-based diet is known for its enormous health and environmental benefits over a meat-eating diet. In recent times more and more people are opting for calmer and cleaner eating for environmental concerns and obvious health benefits.
Furthermore, meat consumption is also a significant contributor to the deadly greenhouse gas – which causes Global Warming – as livestock rearing accounts for a major source of methane release in the atmosphere, dwarfed only by fossil fuel burning.
China’s 2030 goal to reduce meat consumption by 50% reaffirms the benefit of a plant-based or plant-forward diet.
What do you think about the report? Are you also taking a plant-forward diet lately? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.