The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has just released its official Five-Year Agricultural Plan, which for the first time specifically mentions cultivated meat.
The report describes how innovation could be boosted in “frontier and cross-disciplinary technologies,” a category that includes cultivated meat. According to GFI APAC, this signals that Chinese officials believe producing cultivated meat is in the national interest — and this makes it very likely that the government will provide more funding to the sector.
According to GFI APAC, the Chinese government is already making moves on cultivated meat — last June, a three-year government-funded project titled “High-efficiency biological manufacturing technology of artificial meat” was announced.
The National Natural Science Foundation of China has also granted funding to several alt-protein research teams, while the China Meat Food Research Center and Beijing Academy of Food Sciences are collaborating on technology to 3D print cultivated meat. Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a program called “Green Biological Manufacturing” to support sustainability-focused research projects, including several relating to plant-based and cultivated meat.
Chinese cultivated companies
Along with government-funded research projects, many Chinese companies are also working on cultivated meat. The country’s first cultivated company, Joes Future Food, recently raised $10.9 million to build a cell-based pork production line, while Shanghai-based alt-meat company HEROTEIN is collaborating with US cultivated fat producer Mission Barns to bring hybrid cultivated/plant-based meats to market.
Research indicates that acceptance of cultivated meat is far higher in China than in the West, with a recent study finding that 90% of Chinese consumers would be open to eating it.
“By including game-changing food technologies like cultivated meat—which is grown directly from animal cells instead of farming animals—in China’s five-year agricultural plan, national leaders are saying publicly what others around the world have long hoped: that China intends to go all-in on building the future of food, including investing in critical scientific research, just as they have for clean energy and other high-tech sectors with global implications. Other nations would be wise to follow China’s example by investing in this smarter way of making meat before they get left behind,” said Mirte Gosker, Acting Managing Director of The Good Food Institute APAC.