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China's middle class goes vegan

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He Balance of life on planet Earth is very delicate. An increase in the human population leads to an increase in protein consumption. An increase in intensive livestock capable of satisfying this demand leads to an increase in the land used in farms. The conversion of huge extensions of wild forests and jungles into agricultural and livestock land involves a huge human effort in wild areas and in precarious conditions.. And it is precisely in these circumstances where the interaction with the fauna, the flora and the natural gea brings out new diseases. This is the story of the appearance of the coronavirus.

Pandemics, famines and lack of climate control are calamities closely related to livestock. The ecological imbalance, food inefficiencies and carbon dioxide emissions are the vehicles that lead to them. It is because of that China's middle class is starting to embrace veganism. Consumption habits among the wealthy population change rapidly.

Restaurants have not been slow to notice this change in consumer behavior. Affected demographic makes up the bulk of Kentucky Fried Chicken's clientele (KFC) in China. To adapt to the new demand, the company's packaging in Hangzhou (Zhejiang) are recyclable and nuggets chicken served at the establishment do not contain a trace of the animal, are completely of plant origin.

Traditionally, the daily consumption of pork meat products has been seen as a demonstration of wealth. China consumes half of the pork produced worldwide and moves a market of 70 billions of euros in meat products. Now, slowly, the population begins to be interested in a greener diet.

The change occurs mainly in the large metropolises of the Asian giant. VegeRadar operates there, a mapping initiative that has compiled a exhaustive list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. System users can thus enjoy plant-based alternatives to the meat they have been consuming on a daily basis.: "The change is appreciated", comenta Yun Fanwei, a young man living in Shanghai.

The change in consumer habits is not spontaneous. In 2016 the Chinese government outlined new guidelines with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions that they generate annually. His goal was to reduce meat consumption by 50% since between the sixties and the present this had shot up almost a 1000% in its population. A climbing average from 5 a 48 kilos per person and year in five decades.

In order for the message to spread to the population, the actor and governor of California was hired Arnold Schwarzenegger and to the director James Cameron, known by sagas as Terminator Y Avatar. The idea was limit meat intake to 75 grams per day. Something that they did not achieve but now, thanks to veganism and plant substitutes for meat, are closer to reaching.

In 2020 the need to invest more in meat alternatives was discussed in the Chinese government. The avant-garde debate affected the advisability of establishing regulation early and spurring Chinese entrepreneurs to pounce on this marked.

KFC was one of the first restaurants to react to the change in political discourse. They followed Burger King, recently offered by the Impossible Whopper, Y Starbucks, whose coffee shops have partnered with Beyond Meat to offer pasta, fajitas and salads free of animal protein.

Among food providers there have also been movements. Unilever, Cargill Y Nestlé have exported plant substitutes to China in recent years. But since 2018 Indigenous companies have also seen the potential of the incipient veganism that is spreading across the country like wildfire.

OmniMeat has started a business relationship with McDonald’s to offer its flagship product, OmniPork, after great success in Hong Kong supermarkets. Interest in vegetable alternative to pork it is such that it has already arrived in Europe. Associated with Veganuary, the product can be purchased in the UK. OmniMeat's expansion expectations go through 13 countries.

It is not the only local company that has joined the innovation. The vegan diet has new advocates in Z-Rou, Starfield y Zhenmeat. The first two brands produce a Plant-based substitute for minced meat. Meanwhile, Zhenmeat is committed to variety and has vegetable analogs to veal, the pig and the crayfish.

The CEOs of these two companies recognize the changes of opinion in the Chinese population. Their fellow citizens are beginning to make a monetary effort to access healthier and more responsible options with the environment. The trend is still shy, but it is present. That's enough, according to Franklin Yao "the interest is there and China is a fast learner".

Veganism could be the beginning of a more sustainable China.

About the Author

Article by the editorial team of DiegoCoquillat.com. It has professionals both in the field of hospitality, gastronomy and tourism, and new technologies and innovation.

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