Consumers have no beef with meat

Updated: 2016-01-08 07:56

By Shan Juan(China Daily)

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Consumers have no beef with meat

Beef and mutton are boiled and served to guests at a wedding in the Sunan Yugur autonomous county in Gansu province. Wang Jiang / Xinhua

Meanwhile, the consumption of meat also has an environmental impact, according to the report, which concluded that the growing appetite for meat has become one of the major drivers of climate change because the livestock sector accounts for about 15 percent of global emissions, equivalent to the exhaust emissions of all the vehicles in the world. Reducing meat consumption worldwide will be critical to keeping global warming below the "danger level" of 2C, the major goal of recent climate negotiations in Paris, it concluded.

Dietary changes

Chen Chunming, a nutritionist in Beijing, said Chinese academics noticed noticeable change in the national diet - increased consumption of protein, mainly by eating meat - in the wake of World War II. However, the trend accelerated as a result of the reform and open-up policy in the late 1970s.

Government statistics show that before the war, the Chinese diet was 98 percent plant-based, and meat was used sparingly, mainly as a form of flavoring.

Official statistics show that in 2012, annual meat consumption averaged nearly 63 kg per person, compared with 12.7 kg in 1980.

Pork accounts for the lion's share of sales, but consumption of "healthier" white meats, such as poultry, has also increased steadily.

"Meat consumption continues to show an upward trend," Chen said, although he added that the figures in China are lower than in the US where each person eats an average 106 kg of meat every year.

Now, not only is the consumption of meat a fact of daily life, but Chinese people are eating it in larger quantities, according to Wang Xinpeng, a beef salesman at a supermarket in Beijing's Chaoyang district, who said 150-gram flavored steaks are becoming increasingly popular with his customers.

"Such a large amount of meat at each serving isn't my thing, but the Chinese, particularly younger people, eat meat a different way now," he said, adding that some of his regular customers eat steak for breakfast every other day. "They really are meat lovers," he said.