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China includes lab-grown meats in its agricultural five-year plan

New Frontiers for lab-grown meat in China

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the official five-year agricultural plan released on January 26 for the first time included cultured meat and other “foods of the future” such as plant-based eggs as an essential part of its blueprint for food security.

Cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cultures of animal cells. Cultured meat has the potential to address substantial global problems caused by the environmental impact of meat production, animal welfare, food safety, and human health. After about 30 years of research, the first products are finally hitting the market. In November 2020, SuperMeat opened an experimental pilot restaurant in Ness Ziona, Israel. In December 2020, the Singapore Food Agency approved the chicken nuggets produced by California-based Eat Just for commercial use. Over 40 international companies are currently producing different types of cultured meat. Joes Future Food and CellX, founded in 2020, and Avant Meats in Hong Kong, which specializes in the production of fish meat, are active in China. The United States, Israel, and some European countries such as the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France are at the forefront in this sector. The market is very promising and is already attracting billionaire investments due to the inherent potential of these technologies.

China is the world’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and is under pressure to take stronger action to address its role in global warming. Livestock raised for food account for up to 14.5% of global emissions according to the UN. Livestock was responsible for nearly 29% of the country’s direct and indirect agricultural emissions in 2014, the latest year for which official data are available. Per capita meat consumption in China has tripled since the late 1980s and today the country consumes 28% of the world’s meat, including half of the pork consumed in the world.

Therefore, the promotion and adoption of cultivated meat or alternative meat such as plant-based ones could therefore help the country to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from farms, increase food security, especially after the consequences of the virus. African swine fever is responsible for the collapse of domestic pork production in the country.

China’s entry into the industry is good for the entire cultured meat industry. China has not yet granted regulatory approval for the sale of cultured meat, so far Singapore is the only country in the world that has done so, but that could soon change, thanks to the inclusion of cultured meat in its plan. five years.

The government approval should therefore trigger a substantial growth in private investment in the research and incubation of start-ups such as Joes Future Food which has already attracted approximately $ 11 million in investment.

According to a survey involving more than 2,000 Chinese consumers, 90% said they would combine the consumption of cultured meats with that of traditional meats, while 30% said they could mainly use cultured meats once cost parity is reached.

Respondents between 26 and 40 years of age showed the highest level of interest.

Topic: China lab-grown meat, China cultivated meat, China cultured meat

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