Over the last couple of years, after many years of rising meat consumption by China’s expanding middle classes for whom eating pork every day was a luxurious sign of new financial comforts, the green shoots of a vegan meat revolution have begun to sprout. Although China still consumes 28% of the world’s meat, including half of all pork, and boasts a meat market valued at $86bn (£62bn), plant-based meat substitutes are slowing carving out a place for themselves among a new generation of consumers increasingly alarmed by food crises such as coronavirus and African swine fever.
China’s most cosmopolitan cities are now home to social media groups, websites and communities dedicated to meat-free lifestyles. VegeRadar, for example, has compiled comprehensive maps of vegetarian and vegan restaurants all across China. According to a report by the Good Food Institute, China’s plant-based meat market was estimated at 6.1bn yuan (£675m) in 2018 and projected to grow between 20 and 25% annually…
…In 2016, as part of its pledge to bring down carbon emissions, the Chinese government outlined a plan to cut the country’s meat intake by 50%. It was a radical move, and so far very few other governments around the world have included meat consumption in their carbon-reduction plans.
You can ignore the diet conservatives who say “It can’t happen here!” American consumers are also discovering the Yellow Brick Road to a healthier body…and climate. “Meat” based on plant protein isn’t something relegated to the curiosity counter in Whole Foods or Trader Joe, anymore. The phenomenon is spreading to the Targets and Walmarts of America. Guess what? The prices come down a bit more, as well.
Since the menu in my life has always been open to trying something new, our household was one of the first to trial – and then adopt – plant-based protein purchased at our local grocery stores. I’m impressed. Convenient packaging, great flavor as far as my own palate is concerned…costs equivalent to or less than ingredients walking around on four feet a week ago…have diminished our meat consumption by half…a portion still growing as producers catch on to a dynamic new market and offer consumers more alternatives..