China consumes more meat than any other single country. It accounts for a quarter of global meat consumption and half of all global pork consumption.
NAOMI XU ELEGANT: ‘China consumes more meat than any other single country. It accounts for a quarter of global meat consumption and half of all global pork consumption, an ominous stat as African swine fever ravages the country’s pork production capabilities. Now, as the environmental costs of meat-eating have revealed themselves and plant-based alternatives like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are gaining mainstream popularity, some entrepreneurs are looking to convince China’s consumers to make the switch from animal to plant.
“China already has a long history of plant-based food,” says impact investor and entrepreneur Tao Zhang, pointing to the imitation meats—made from tofu, soybeans, or mushrooms—that have long existed in Buddhist vegetarian communities in China. Tao founded Dao Ventures, a consortium of investing entities that fund environmentally-focused small and medium enterprises in China.
He also founded Dao Foods International, a maker of plant-based meat products, in hopes of reducing the environmental burden of China’s livestock industry by attracting meat eaters with high-quality, tasty products. Before launching Dao Foods, Tao says he conducted a year’s worth of feasibility studies to learn how to approach the market.
The challenge, Tao says, is how to “mainstream” such products and sell them to meat-eaters. “The right pathway, as far as we can tell, is to nurture and identify the right entrepreneurs to do that,” Tao says, noting that the plant-based mock meat industry is still a nascent sector in China, and such entrepreneurs are “few and far between”.’ SOURCE…