Meat substitutes in China: An opportunity for foreign companies

The plant-based meat substitute market inChina is a very new industry without a clearly defined border. These ‘artificialmeat products’ as they are known in China are usually made with plant proteinor grown in a lab through the use of animal stem cells. China’s population, thesum total of which reached 1.395 billion by the end of 2018, has reached alevel where it is becoming increasingly difficult to resolve food shortages,and is one of the main factors driving the development of the industry. AsChinese living standards increase along with consumer purchasing power,consumers are beginning to make a conscious effort to change their dietaryhabits towards the better.


That being said, ‘artificial meat products’in China are little more than concepts at the moment. While there are R&Doperations being conducted in the country, there is no true artificial meatproduct company in China as of yet. The Chinese populace has yet to consumemeaningful amounts of ‘artificial meat products’, and acceptance of ‘artificialmeat products’ is not widespread as of 2019. The IPO of Los-Angeles based meatsubstitute company BeyondMeat spread shockwaves through the Chinese stockmarket, with interest in meat substitute companies increasing by the day.Besides Chinese company Shuangta Foods’ dealings with Beyond Meat however,there are no companies in the meat substitute industry in China.


This represents a great opportunity for foreigncompanies to enter the Chinese market as China’s meat substitute market is byall intents and purposes not even a fully-fledged market as of yet as there islittle to no trade at the moment. A foreign company that enters the market nowwould be able to gain critical footing in the industry and use the opportunityto assume a leadership position. The current state of Chinese pork prices as caused by the African Swine Flu outbreak in China makes it even more crucial for foreign companies to use this opportunity to enter the market as consumers are eagerly searching for safe alternatives.