China’s outbreak of African swine fever this year has driven home the point that the world’s resource-gobbling production of animal meats may not be able to keep up with demand. The epidemic forced the culling of millions of hogs in China, slashing pork supplies. A 20% decline in pork production this year will result in a supply shortfall of more than 11 million tons that could be filled by other meats and meat alternatives.
Enter faux meat — which looks and smells just like a pink and juicy beef burger when patties are grilled, but is made from plant-based substitutes.
Though much of the product is being designed and created in the U.S., China is the market to watch.
In 2018, the country’s total meat consumption exceeded the combined amount of the United States and the European Union, with per capita consumption of 60 kilograms.
“It is the only path for China and the world,” said one expert. “There is no other choice.”