EYEAFRICA TV: Beijing, China: With its frequent appearance on online shopping platforms and in restaurant menus, artificial meat is gaining more and more attention in the Chinese market.
A restaurant in Shanghai offers dishes made of artificial meat.
“In terms of color, fresh pork looks more reddish, but they (pork and artificial meat) smell almost the same,” said Su Weiqing, executive chef of the restaurant.
There are two kinds of artificial meat, one is produced by extracting plant proteins from soybeans, peas, wheat and other vegetables and grains, the other is by in vitro cultivation of animal stem cells. Most of the artificial meat that consumers can buy in the market are plant-based because of its low costs compared with the other kind.
Chinese ham producer Jinzi produces a type of beef flavored plant-based pies, the first of its kind on the Chinese mainland market, by working with U.S.-based DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences.
“We extract substances of relevant flavors from plants, which were compounded according to the flavor of real animal flesh. The artificial meat would taste like real animal meat after the addition of compounded flavor substances,” said Ma Xiaozhong, CTO and chief engineer of Jinzi Ham Co., Ltd.
The company recently sold out 1,000 such beef-flavored mock patty packs for 118 yuan (about 16.7 U.S. dollars) each on Alibaba’s Tmall online shopping platform in a nine-day presale.
Artificial meat has no lack of supporters.
“Artificial meat has zero cholesterol, zero additives, and has no antibiotic risk,” said Cao Yun, COO of a food company.
But not everyone is optimistic about the future of artificial meat.
“It’s more about offering consumers a new product and I don’t think it’s realistic to say that artificial meat can completely replace real animal meat,” said Zhang Bo, assistance research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.