KrASIA’s Morning Briefing is a closed-door presentation that delves into a different industry every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Register here for the upcoming episode on the growing plant-based meat industry in China, June 1, 9 – 9.30am (GMT +8).
In this episode the team introduced the Plant-based Meat industry in China. Starting with a market overview before diving into 3 critical characteristics that shape the industry in China and wrapping up with the case study on Starfield Food and Science Technology.
In 2020, the value of the global plant-based meat industry was approximately at USD 13.6 billion. China accounted for an estimated USD 1.2 billion that same year, taking up a little over 8% of global market share. The country is forecasted to reach a projected market size of USD 6.1 Billion by 2027 trailing a CAGR of 13.9%, over the period of 2020 to 2027. Thus, making it the fastest growing market globally, surpassing other noteworthy markets Japan, Canada and Germany.
China is still in the early stages of industry development, with most contemporary plant-based producers and brands only launching products in 2019 onwards. These is a look at the major players.
Moving into the the key factors that influence the Chinese plant-based meat industry, the team addressed 3 main aspects—taste, consumer perception and cost.
First, laying the context behind the taste aspect of plant-based meat, there has to be some contextual understanding of China’s food history.
China has had a long history of making and eating what traditional meat alternatives, tracing back to the Qin Dynasty. Traditional meat alternatives come in a wide variety and are made from soy beans, tofu, wheat gluten, mushrooms, legumes and more. This segment of traditional meat alternatives, has become a firm staple in Chinese cuisine, even for those who don’t subscribe to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Given that Chinese cuisine has its own staple segment of meat alternatives, new plant-based meat has to not only compete with real meat but meet and surpass the benchmarks set by the traditional alternatives.
China also has a diverse cuisine which common forms of plant-based meat products may not fit. In the last couple of years one of the earliest ways plant-based meat has been introduced to Chinese consumers is as sandwiches and burgers from western food chains like Starbucks and MacDonald’s. Products such as burger patties, meatballs, and sausages are not typically what Chinese consumers consume on a daily basis.