China Focus: Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images
Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in this edition of China Focus. ©Getty Images

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Plant-based snacks, COVID-19 market impacts, 3D meat printing and more feature in this edition of China Focus.

‘New Era of Meat II’: China’s Baicaowei reveals plant-based sausage snack

Chinese snacks firm Baicaowei is targeting a ‘new era of meat’ with its plant-based sausage snack​, claiming that this is unlike any other seen in the country before.

The smoked sausage product was launched earlier this year, and Baicaowei has dubbed it as being the ‘New Era of Meat II’.

“Our man-made meat snack is made from plant proteins, specifically non-GMO soybeans. It is the first ready-to-eat man-made meat product processed at low temperature in the country,”​ Baicaowei Co-Founder Tanya Wang told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“The technique used here is different from that for other vegetarian meats in China. We use non-GMO soy protein from the north-east together with twice-distilled konjac powder and other ingredients, and this is then applewood-smoked.

“The product texture simulates fascia (connective tissue) and gives the same marbling as in meat, in addition to having a very distinct smoked flavour and aroma.”

Wine will be fine: Outlook for online sales in China remains positive despite coronavirus outbreak

The outlook for wine e-commerce​ in China remains optimistic despite the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, according to a leading expert.

China-based Emilie Steckenborn is a certified sommelier and exclusive wine consultant for China Eastern Airlines. She predicts that COVID-19 is unlikely to bring the online wine industry down, based on her years of experience in the country.

“Before the virus hit, there was a definite online wine boom going on in China – overall, individual purchasing by consumers was expected to overtake that in retail, whether it be the bigger e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and, or smaller individual wine shops such as Cheers Wines,” ​Steckenborn told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Online wine purchases stood at around 30% in China, as opposed to 7% in the United States, which is a lot further ahead.”

COVID-2019 sparks boom in fresh food imports to China as trust in local produce takes a hit

The recent coronavirus outbreak (COVID-2019), which is believed to have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, has heightened demand for fresh food imports​ into China.

The country’s foreign and commerce ministry are calling for more imports, with one Australian distributor telling us demand was growing.

Sean Hyatt, James Tyler’s general manager of third party logistics, told us: “People always need it, the demand is there. But whenever there is a concern around Chinese food safety, especially with COVID possibly originating from a market, the demand on fresh food imports tend to spike as there is a lack of trust in locally produced products​.”

Cost and speed: Why China has enormous potential to conquer APAC 3D meat printing market

Although China may be experiencing an economical setback due to the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the country still retains enormous potential to conquer the Asia Pacific market for 3D meat printing due to expertise in terms of cost reduction and speed​.

According to alternative protein industry expert Olivia Fox Cabane, China is unparalleled worldwide when it comes to reducing manufacturing costs, a challenge that just about all companies in the alternative protein market are currently trying to overcome.

“Cost, especially manufacturing cost, is one of the main barriers to scaling for all the current startups working in this field [of plant-based or cell-based protein], and there is no country in the entire world better and faster than China at reducing manufacturing costs,”​ Cabane told FoodNavigator-Asia​.


Coca-Cola faces tighter supply of sucralose from China as COVID-19 hits supply chain

Beverage giant Coca-Cola has experienced some delays in its artificial sweetener supply chain​ from China as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

This could affect production of its diet and no-sugar drinks, which include brands like Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Aquarius, and Minute Maid.

While the company did not reveal which sweeteners were affected, its 10-K annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, revealed sucralose as a ‘critical raw material’ sourced from China.

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