USA, New York. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the daily calorie intake from meat has more than doubled since 1991 as wealth has increased, bringing the country towards the meat consumption levels of western countries. Increasing meat consumption in China is leading the country to abandon its aims of food self-sufficiency.
“China’s changing diet is already exerting a powerful influence on domestic and international agriculture,” said Richard Ferguson, author of the report. “Amid volatility in commodities markets, China’s continuing shift towards consumerism, means the outlook for soft food stuffs is relativity bright.”
PwC’s research shows that the average daily calorie intake in China was 1,863 calories per person in 1971, compared to 3,025 in the UK. Forty years later, this average had grown to 3,074 calories, whereas that of the UK had grown to 3,414. During the same period, calories from meat had increased by well over 400% per person per day in China.
As a result, China has become more dependent on feedstock imports of soya bean and corn in particular. The domestic agricultural market, meanwhile, has moved towards meat production, and also to higher-value fruit and vegetables.
Supply side challenges, such as diminished viable farmland, polluted water supplies, depleted aquifers, overuse of fertilisers and land rights disputes, mean that a new market is emerging for companies that specialise in digital mapping, traceability, soil analysis, precision farming and waste management.