Retail giant Walmart has partnered with Qishan Foods to develop plant-based meat products in China.
The partnership between the world’s largest retailer and Qishan Foods, the first plant-based meat producer in China, could help meat alternatives go mainstream in China, Vegconomist reported.
Officially launched in 1993, Qishan Foods develops meat alternatives that it says can be made indistinguishable from meat, with a goal of turning China into the leader in the plant-based movement.
“….As early as the Tang and Song Dynasties, our vegetarian restaurant can use tofu and vegetables to imitate the taste of meat,” said Zhou Qiyu, senior manager of Qishan Foods Products Department.
“For example, Sichuan pickles with eggplant can make people mistakenly believe that they have tasted meat. Modern technology can imitate the fiber taste of meat after the isomerization of plant protein. Different plant proteins can imitate the taste of different meats.”
Unlike much of the developed world, which is increasing its consumption of plant-based food often due to health and environmental concerns, China, which has typically eaten a diet rich in plants, is beginning to significantly increase meat consumption.
An increase in wealth is correlated with an increase in meat consumption, not only in China but in other global emerging markets as well.
China now consumes roughly 28% of the world’s meat, including about half of the world’s pork, and that trend is moving upward.
The Chinese government is so concerned about the environmental impact of eating this way that its latest dietary guidelines, released in 2016, urge citizens to cut their meat consumption in half in an effort to slash carbon emission in half by 2030.
Qishan Foods hopes to change this trend with its plant-based meat products.
Along with Qishan Foods, vegan oat milk producer Oatly is also working to make their plant-based products mainstream in China.
The company even introduced a Chinese character for plant-based milk to make the concept easier to understand.