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Beyond Burgers: China Plant-Based Protein Market Growing Up

(Bloomberg) – According to Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the world’s largest agricultural traders, China is driving growth in the plant-based protein market in Asia as health-conscious consumers embrace a range of new products. According to ADM Asia Pacific president Leo Liu, things are generally faster in China than in other parts of the world. Alternatives to shrimp and shellfish, vegetable cheeses and ready-to-eat protein snacks are all growing in popularity, he said. “Awareness and interest in plant proteins as an alternative to meat is increasing,” said Liu. said in an interview. Chinese are experimenting with plant-based options as they look for high-protein diets that are sustainable, convenient and meet food safety standards, he said. ADM – one of the four major agricultural dealers along with Cargill Inc., Bunge Ltd. , and Louis Dreyfus Co. – already has extensive operations across China and will invest more in alternative proteins there, Liu said. The company predicts that the Chinese plant protein market will grow to $ 14.5 billion by 2025 from less than $ 10 billion in 2018. The growing interest in plant protein is in line with Beijing’s growing focus on the environment and food security. Self-sufficiency came to the fore in China’s latest five-year plan that came after the country’s swine herd was devastated by African swine fever and the trade war with the US and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of global supply chains. protein intake from plant sources could help China cope with future meat shortages, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Alvin Tai and Ashley Kim said in a report published in February. Reducing meat consumption is also part of China’s strategy to reduce carbon intensity by more than 65% by 2030 from 2005 levels, they said. help boost alternative food startups across the country, Liu said. “Consumers are moving away from an obsession with calorie counting and focusing on the intrinsic value of food.” Many China-based companies will continue to expand their manufacturing capabilities as the popularity of plant-based meats continues to increase, Fitch Solutions said in a March 31 note. OmniFoods distributes a ground pork substitute in Hong Kong, and Whole Perfect Food on the mainland sells vegan bacon. Meanwhile, Chinese startups Zhenmeat and Starfield Food & Science Technology have sought funding to develop their own meat substitutes. Global interest A large number of global food enthusiasts are also trying to get in on the action. Cargill started a plant-based meat products brand called PlantEver that was sold directly to Chinese consumers last year, while industry pioneer Beyond Meat Inc. opened its first production facility outside of the US near Shanghai this week. Livekindly Collective, a group of alternative protein brands driven by a former Unilever Plc director, also has plans to expand in China. ADM, which says it is now the largest plant-based protein supplier in the world, has been diversifying outside of the bulk crop and into higher-margin food production for years. The company expects its nutrient unit, which includes its plant protein business, to match or even exceed its legacy crop buying and shipping business by 2050. See also: Beyond Meat Has an Ancient Foe in China – Tofu: David Fickling One of the biggest potential hurdles to the industry in China is competition from long-established and cheaper soy-based products such as tofu, Liu said. “While it may take time to educate consumers about the new generation of plant foods, the demand for plant foods in China will have huge market potential once perceptions start to change and the taste and taste of plant foods continues to improve,” he said. (Updates with commentary from Fitch Solutions in 8th paragraph.) For more articles like this, visit us at bloomberg.com Subscribe now to stay ahead of the curve with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP