China’s Meat Consumption Continues to Rise, While Government Tries to Cut It Down

As the world’s largest food and beverage market, China is also one of the highest meat consumption nations in the world. While meat consumption in China continues to rise at a staggering rate over the last decade, Chinese government has introduced new initiatives to cut its citizens’ meat consumption by half with aims of tackling greenhouse gas and population health issues.


According to the statistics from OECD, China currently consumes nearly 30% of the world’s meat, including half of the world’s pork. In 2016, meat consumption per capita in China totalled over 50kg – including pork meat 31.3 kg/capita; Poultry meat 11.7 kg/capita; beef and veal 3.9 kg/capita and sheep meat 3.0 kg/capita. Three decades ago, the meat consumption in China was only 13 kg/capita.


Despite its meat consumption per capita still lower than most of the American and European countries, the total amount of meat consumption in China is still huge and is believed to be one of the main reasons to cause greenhouse gas and several health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.


Read more: China’s Food and Beverage Industry Overview


The recent dietary guidelines issued by China’s health ministry suggests that the country’s 1.3 billion population should consume between 40g to 75g of meat per person each day, meaning that the recommended meat consumption is nearly 50% less than what the country is consuming now. Chinese government hopes the measures can improve public health by reducing obesity and diabetes, as well as provide a significant cut to greenhouse gas emissions in the country.


The environmental organization WildAid predicts that with currently growth rate of China’s meat consumption, it would add an extra 233 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, and put increased strain on the country’s water supply. WildAid also warns that the soaring meat consumption will also degrade country’s arable land and increase the country’s health issues with obesity and diabetes.


However, if these meat consumption guidelines are followed properly, carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from China’s livestock industry would be reduced by 1 billion tonnes by 2030, from a projected 1.8 billion tonnes.


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