China’s Changing Vegetarian and Vegan Market

Thread Newsletter – April Edition

More than a decade ago in Shanghai, your typical vegetarian options were probably a sad cheese sandwich, an over-priced bowl of lettuce with carrots and tomatoes, or a plain bowl of noodles. A vegan meal? It was almost impossible to get your hands on a decent one, but today – oh how times have changed! We’re far from spoiled, but there’s a whole menu of great new brands started by health conscious restauranteurs.

But aside from more food options, why does this really matter?

There’s no hiding that eating meat is detrimental to the environment, climate-changing emissions are created at every stage of production. In a country where 1.4 billion people’s lives are changing every single day, the smallest increments, especially when it comes to food leads to signifiant impacts around the world. 20 years ago, the average Chinese person ate around 30 pounds of meat per year. Today, that number is more than four times at nearly 140 pounds.

But it’s not all terrible news! In 2016, the Chinese government launched revised dietary guidelines on meat consumption in an attempt to steer people towards the right path. The boom in health and wellness has also helped influence diets and snacking habits. How this will all pan out, only time will tell but in the mean time, we can all be more informed and make conscious decisions about the food and drinks that we consume.

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