To ensure food security for its people, the world’s most populous country has added cultured, alt-meats to its five year plan. Should the shift in sentiment worry exporters to China’s animal agriculture sector?
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ latest five-year agricultural plan contains cultivated meats and other future foods, including plant-based eggs as part of its blueprint for food security going forward. And according to stakeholders the weight of China’s endorsement could help propel the entire alternatives sector by spurring investment and providing a market, helping to remove some of the current barriers to large scale development and distribution.
CEO of California-based food tech company East Just Inc Josh Tetrick said China’s nationwide strategic initiative could accelerate the country’s regulatory timeline for cultivated meat, drive more research and investment and help along consumer acceptance of the products. Tetrick’s company already sells plant-based eggs in China and cell-cultivated chicken in Singapore.
By adding cultured meats to its five-year plan, China could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from raising livestock while also ensuring the country maintains food security. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change are calling for a reduction in global meat consumption to help reduce climate-warming gasses. Despite the warnings, global demand for meat is expected to nearly double by 2050, particularly in countries with a growing middle class such as China.
Alternative meat promotion organisation Good Food Institute says China’s nod to cultivated meat is signalling to the rest of the world, that the country’s aims to build the future of food. In China, the sale of cultivated meat still needs regulatory approval, however, including the sector in the country’s agricultural five-year plan is adding pressure on the authorities.