The plant-based food market in China is taking off as an increasing number of consumers become more aware of the importance of protein intake, especially when more than ever are pursuing a light diet (ie low fat and cholesterol). Moreover, COVID-19 has seen more consumers paying attention to food safety and the immune system, leading to more potential consumers of plant-based meats which are rich in good quality protein.

Although the interest in trying different dishes and ingredients made with plant-based meat products is relatively high, consumers show limited familiarity with plant-based meat, especially when differentiating plant-based meat products with meat, soy, legumes and vegetables. This is presumably owing to the influence of traditional Chinese-style soy meat products.

With direct and continuous marketing education and communication, as well as product innovation in the market (eg plant-based meat in dish format), the market is expected to continue growing. Brands should primarily focus on early adopters who recognise the nutritional benefit of plant-based meat, and attract followers who prefer actual meat but are also willing to try because of marketing hype and product flavour.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • Factors that drive the emerging plant-based meat market

  • Key players in the plant-based meat market and their marketing strategies

  • Plant-based meat product innovation inspiration

  • Consumers’ consumption and perception of food and ingredients

  • Consumers’ interest in plant-based meat and ingredients

  • Consumers’ attitudes towards plant-based meat

Products covered in this Report

This Report investigates consumption behaviour and attitudes towards plant-based foods at various occasions, including cooking at home, eating out or choosing packaged products. Plant-based meat is the central topic in this Report due to its increasing popularity in the China market.

For the purpose of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Plant-based food includes those derived from a plant source, such as vegetables, fruit, and beans. Although fungi are not biologically classified as plants, fungi-based products are included in our definition of plant-based foods for analysis, as they are still derived from non-animal sources.

Trends in consuming food and drink from animal origin, such as meat, egg and dairy are discussed for the purposes of comparison.

Plant-based drinks are excluded. They are discussed in a separate Report.

Demographic classifications

Mintel divides consumers into three groups based on their monthly household income (MHI) and monthly personal income (MPI). The table below shows the definitions of each consumer group.

Tier one cities Tier two and lower cities
Low household income RMB6,000-9,999 RMB5,000-8,999
Mid household income RMB10,000-17,999 RMB9,000-15,999
High household income RMB18,000 and above RMB16,000 and above
Tier one cities Tier two and lower cities
Low personal income RMB5,999 and below RMB4,999 and below
Mid personal income RMB6,000-9,999 RMB5,000-8,999
High personal income RMB10,000 and above RMB9,000 and above
Back to top