The Rise of the Health Food Trend in China

13 Feb

The income of young Chinese urban professional is on the rise, and along with this, a new health food trend is emerging. The Chinese have many a food scandal, which not only scares them away from certain foods, (for example they often get the equivalent of the horse meat scandal on a regular basis) but pushes them into new practices.

This article portrays facts and figures as well as explaining how these trends have acted using info graphics.

3 Responses to “The Rise of the Health Food Trend in China”

  1. iyh1g10 February 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Questionable food safety regulations in China have been an issue for years, perhaps most devastatingly so back in 2008 when dairy products containing industrial chemical melamine caused 300,000 cases, including 6 deaths of infants. Since then talks of cardboard-stuffed dumplings and plastic in food have not gone by unnoticed by the public but how do we really know what it is that we eat? Scientists at the Tianjin University of Science and Technology in northern China might have found just the solution to this, having developed an at-home testing kit to enable consumers to detect over 60 varieties of chemicals in their food. Conducted with indicator paper, it would set off alarm bells should the food sample contain harmful substances.

    Even foreign brands have fallen into public scrutiny, as KFC chickens have recently been found to contain excessive levels of antibiotics.

    It remains unknown as to when these testing strips will be made available to the public but it sounds like an appealing concept for consumers to protect themselves from potentially harmful substances, possible paving way for food safety scares to become a thing of the past.

    Coming Soon to China: At-Home Toxic Food Test Kits. Source:
    Yum’s China woes slam sales and profits. Source:

  2. timhaythorne February 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    The article below (even though not a well recognised source) contains some good graphs and tables down the right tab to help illustrate this relationship between growing incomes and food purchases. The article’s theme is actually based around this transition being long term – starting as early as the 1970s. At one point, they show that even thought people were consuming more food, incomes were actually growing at a faster rate and percentage of disposable incomes directed towards food consumption actually fell from one half to a third!

    I think the website posted above gives a really interesting insight to a change in taste and culture. Between provinces, Chinese food often has a long standing, distinct theme and to see this now changing, especially the growth of vegetarianism, just shows how much of an impact economic growth and media growth has had on culture.

    Said article:

  3. tw8g11 February 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    The rapidly growing affluence of much of the populous within China has stimulated the formation of an ever expanding middle class. With this newly acquired disposable income, the consumption patterns in terms of food can be seen to have changed dramatically in recent years. Not only does there appear to have been an increase in the consumption of animal products (meat, fish, milk and eggs), but there also appears to have been a rise in fruit and vegetable intake. The increased demand for meat has been particularly significant, having quadrupled within the last thirty years. Indeed according to the US agricultural department, China now consumes a quarter of the world total, around 71 million tons a year.
    These figures indicate of a shift towards a more Western-orientated diet, where there is a far greater focus upon animal products rather than the traditional oriental make up consisting predominantly of rice and vegetables. Of course it is no coincidence that the continued rise of globalization over the past couple of decades has led to a large influx of fast food chains entering the Chinese market. If these current trends continue into the future, the government will undoubtedly face a number of pressing challenges. Firstly from a health based perspective, there is already significant evidence to show of a correlation between this rise in income and levels of obesity. Additionally there is the issue of supply and demand when it comes to agricultural production. As James Rice, the former head of Tyson foods explains “Only 14 per cent of China’s land is arable and to make meat you need land, corn and water. China is short of all three”. This would thus indicate of a heavy reliance upon imports, an issue will need to be addressed that if the Chinese wish to develop sustainably in the future.


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