For the first time, China has included farmed meat and other “future foods” in its five-year agricultural plan. Because China is one of the world’s top consumers of meat and eggs, it could be a sign of things to come.
Cultivated meat, which is made from stem cells fed a nutrient-rich broth, could help laboratories replace farms and slaughterhouses. However, producing it on a large enough scale to make a difference has proven challenging so far.
Singapore became the first country in the world to legalise the sale of lab-grown meat in September of last year. The inclusion of farmed meat in China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ food future roadmap appears to be changing that.
As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is under pressure to find methods to lessen its influence on the environment, and cutting meat intake could help.
Cultivated meats are accompanied by research that suggests Chinese consumers would be more accepting of this alternative protein source. According to recent market research, nearly 90% of respondents claimed they would be willing to try it.
Where plant-based alternatives have failed to pique customers’ interest, a focus on cultured meat substitutes may be able to assist China reduce its meat consumption.