China's growing appetite for plant-based foods
Vegetarianism is catching on in China; with a population of 50M vegetarians, the country is steadily catching up with Europe’s 75M vegetarians. Representing just 3.6% of the Chinese population (5% in Europe), there is significant room for China’s vegetarian population to grow.
While it can be convenient to draw parallels with Western economies, vegetarianism in China shows some distinct differences. At the core of this is a difference in motivation; the pursuit of individualistic health vs. a collective responsibility for the planet;
In China, the adoption of meat-free diets is driven predominantly by health considerations; 5 of 11 key purchasing drivers identified through QIVA little data reference health benefits such as ‘low fat’, ‘low cholesterol’, ‘added nutritional benefits’ and ‘free from pollution’;
"At the core of this is a difference in motivation; the pursuit of individualistic health vs. a collective responsibility for the planet."
In Europe and the US, consumer motivations increasingly intersect between health and ethical consumerism; issues such as health, sustainability, traceability and animal welfare hold sway. This is illustrated through growing demand for ‘animal-free’ diets; the European meat alternative market is forecast to exceed $2.6Bn by 2025 (7.3% CAGR), representing c. 40% of global sales.
Ultimately individualistic health and the global health collective sit on one axis of motivation; they are not mutually exclusive. Nonetheless, stark differences in consumer mindset should be understood before seeking to appeal to these different audiences.