In Focus
STORES | Staff Reporter, China
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Food security pressures ramp up plant-based meat adoption in China

A heightened awareness on animal welfare could boost adoption of vegetarian diets.

Pressures on China's food security following outbreaks of African Swine Flu and COVID-19 have been accelerating the adoption of plant-based meat in the country, which will help in the development of plant-based meat offerings moving-forward, according to Fitch Solutions.

Key concerns has come to the fore in terms of the country's food security, including trying to find a way to sustainably feed its large population and to satisfy growing consumer demand.

In August, President Xi Jinping announced a campaign on food waste, which has put the onus on consumers to be more aware when it comes to ordering excess food in restaurants.

"We believe that greater awareness in such issues will likely see the government adopt a more active role in food security and by extension the development of alternative protein in the years to come," the report stated.

Amidst the pandemic, there has also been an acceleration in the healthification trend, with consumers increasingly focussed on their health and prioritising their spending in this area. There has been a steady YoY rise in medicine sales, both western and traditional, throughout 2020.

The report noted a growing demand for spices that are typically associated with health and immunity in China, such as ginger and turmeric, with imports showing a YoY growth of 96.5% in H1 2020.

"With consumers becoming more health conscious, we highlight that it is likely that some will seek to reduce their meat intake, with over-consumption of (red) meat having been linked to multiple diseases in academic studies," Fitch added.

There has been a greater focus on animal welfare globally and more specifically in China, where the virus is believed to have originated from a wet market where a number of animals were cohabiting in close proximity.

In January, the government banned wild animal trade until the crisis. Two cities, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, also became the first to ban the eating of dogs and cats by April, and the government removed dogs from its official list of livestock by May.

"Although still at early stages, we are beginning to see a shift in attitudes towards animal welfare, which will help in the adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets, and so increase spending on plant-based meat in the years to come," the report stated.

Photo from Unsplash.
 

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