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China’s President Xi: Alternative Protein Crucial To China’s Food Security

Chinese President Xi Jinping highlights alternative protein as important for food security and sustainability in a new speech to government officials

Beijing - China should adopt a “greater food” approach and look at plant-based, fermented and cell-cultured animal protein in addition to traditional food sources as a way to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, announced Chinese President Xi JinPing in a recent speech. The speech, delivered March 6, 2022 at the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), President Xi also stated that science and technology are key to food security and that the government should be aware of the changing trends in people’s food choices. President Xi’s remarks were reported publicly after the event by state-affiliated news agency Xinhua.

“Apart from traditional crops, livestock, and poultry resources, we should expand the use of biological resources,” President Xi told delegates. “By developing biological science, biotechnology, and bio-industries, we can obtain calories and protein from plants, animals, and microorganisms.” The remarks follow the recent release of the China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ new Five-Year Plan, which calls for “research and development in cultivated meat, plant-based egg, milk, and oil, recombinant protein technology” and other high-technology areas as important for food security and long-term economic development. President Xi is one of only a handful of global leaders to have publicly embraced alternative protein as an important strategic priority for development.

“The government’s call to diversify protein sources and develop the alternative protein space, including by using biotechnology to produce animal proteins through cell cultivation and fermentation, will provide major tailwinds to the growth of this sector,” said Lily Chen, Program Director at Lever China, which works to promote entrepreneurship and investment in the alternative protein sector in the country. “Lever China is committed to helping company founders, investors and food brands grow the alternative protein sector, and to helping China be a global technology leader in plant-based proteins and in the cultivation and fermentation of animal protein.”

The number of alternative protein start-ups in China has increased significantly in the past three years, with over RMB 1.563 billion (USD $245 million) invested in the sector during the period. A recent market study by Lever China and leading Chinese food media outlet Food Plus found that 90% of Chinese consumers would eat cultivated meat and 30% would consider making cultivated meat their main source of protein in the future if pricing and taste were able to match the conventional version.

Source: Lever VC, Alternative Protein Report



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