The China rice protein market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.18 % to reach US$11.653 million by 2025, from US$5.846 million in 2019. China has been the world’s largest meat consumer. However, China has long traditions of the plant-based diet as well. While seaweeds and tofu have featured in traditional Chinese cookery for quite some, the weight-loss culture and health are steering the interest of the Chinese consumers (especially the urbanites) of the present-day towards a more plant-centric diet. Furthermore, the profusion of campaigns powered by celebrities is also influencing Chinese consumers to adopt a plant-based diet. Additionally, back in 2016, the government of China had delineated a set of new dietary guidelines with the objective to reduce the quantity of meat consumption by half. Further, there also has been a recommendation to consume between 40g to 75g of meat per person per day. Thus, such initiatives from the government to improve public health and simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be a plausible driving force that will steer the preference for plant-based protein consumption among Chinese consumers.
The popularity of rice protein and its plethora of application has gained traction in China. For example, Axiom Foods Inc., a Los Angeles based plant protein manufacturer acquired its fourth patent for its organic brown rice protein called Oryzatein® in July 2018. It is the first patent for Axiom Foods in China that uses cutting edge technology to develop new plant-based ingredients. In this manner, it has brought about a positive change and awareness in the global food supply chains.
Moreover, with the outbreak of African Swine Fever in 2019, which had affected Thailand, Vietnam and China the pork supply became quite unstable and consumers moved away from pork. Thus, Right Treat based out of Hong Kong, came out with a pork alternative called Omnipork that opened new possibilities for meat alternatives, with the company recently announcing plans to enter mainland China. As per Right Treat, this plant-based alternative to pork is made up of non-genetically modified soy, pea protein, rice, and shiitake mushrooms. Moreover, it is also free of cholesterols, hormones, and cholesterols and it contains significantly lower calories. Taco Bell China, in December 2019 launched a limited-edition taco made with plant-based mince pork.
Additionally, a new food tech startup based in China called Zhenmeat launched its plant-based analogs in 2019 that are tailored to the Chinses cuisine. It ranges from dim sums to mooncakes. The company launched its products to not only cater to vegans or vegetarians but also to woo in meat-eaters. Their range of products is made out of a mixture of plant proteins, that include soy, pea, and fungus-based protein as well as that which is derived from brown rice. When most of the available alternative meat products are catered to the western pallet, Zhenmeat has successfully created an altogether a new room for innovation in plant-based meat products that are oriented towards the oriental preferences of food, taste, and flavor.
Moreover, the two biggest Silicon Valley plant-based food-tech start-ups, Impossible Foods, and Beyond Meat have plans to scale its operation in mainland china by beginning production in 2020. Therefore, being a massive consumer of meat, the Chinese market of present times is open to sampling new kinds of food that have health and environmental incentives. Plus, the recent outbreak of African swine fever has resulted in a massive spike in global pork that has further fuelled the need for alternative meat. This provides a conducive environment for players in the plant-based meat segment to aggressively innovate and drive the rice protein market during the forecast period to a new hilt.