With the launch of this new project, China has taken a major step into the plant-based food sector. The contest is a collaboration between ProVeg China and the Shanghai Society of Food Science, and seeks to accelerate the innovation of sustainable and healthy vegan food in the region. The Plant-based Food Innovation Contest is the first of its kind in Asia.
Students from eight universities will participate
About 100 student teams from leading universities, including Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai Ocean University, and East China University of Science and Technology, will submit their ideas. The contest has a total prize fund of 45,000 RMB (about 6,000 Euros). Students will compete in three different categories: pre-packaged foods, main-course recipes, and animal-free ingredients. Ten teams will then be selected as finalists to submit a business proposal.[vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlzLRWSPmUc&feature=youtu.be” align=”center”][vc_empty_space height=”20px”]
Mentoring by industry experts
Finalists will be regularly coached and mentored by industry experts, including leading companies such as dairy manufacturer Bright Dairy, meat manufacturer New Hope, and convenience-food manufacturer Lee Kum Kee, as well as Danone, Beyond Meat, Ferrero, and Oatly. All companies will provide lab facilities and materials for prototype development to the student teams, as well as a budget for market research.
Plant-based meat market in China
The contest has been launched at a time when the plant-based meat market in China is growing steadily, and at a faster rate than GDP growth. In 2018, the domestic plant-based meat industry was worth approximately 6.1 billion RMB (around 800 million Euros), representing an annual increase of 14.2%, while China’s GDP growth reached its lowest level since 1990, at 6.6%.
2019 was a crucial year for ProVeg and plant-based food innovation in China. The establishment of a ProVeg team in the world’s most populous country represents a huge opportunity.
“China has a distinctive and rich food culture. With soya products and tofu already so ingrained in its society, we now expect China to develop a new food culture, based on innovative plant-based and cultured-meat products.”
ProVeg aims to support sustainable economic growth in China
An increasing number of people in China are beginning to realise that animal agriculture and meat consumption have a substantial impact on the environment, climate change, and public health. As a fact-based food awareness organisation, we are dedicated to promoting innovative plant-based and cell-based alternatives in order to support economic growth in China in a sustainable manner.
Consumer trends in China
According to a recent Mintel survey, about 70% of Chinese consumers are interested in reducing their meat consumption. One reason for this is that many Chinese consumers are very health-conscious. Shirley Lu, the Executive Director of ProVeg East Asia, explains: “China has a distinctive and rich food culture. With soya products and tofu already so ingrained in its society, we now expect China to develop a new food culture, based on innovative plant-based and cultured-meat products.”
We are excited to work with leading universities, food corporations, and the Shanghai Society of Food Science in order to accelerate the development of plant-based foods.