A survey from Peking University assessed how plant-based meats are perceived in China and found that respondents held overall positive attitudes toward meat substitutes. The survey found that the majority of respondents said that were reducing their meat and animal product consumption, with around 1% identified as vegan, almost 9% as vegetarian, almost 10% as pescatarian, and 49% as flexitarian.

Titled “Consumers’ Experiences and Preferences for Plant-Based Meat Food: Evidence from a Choice Experiment in Four Cities of China”, the study was published in the Journal of Integrative Agriculture in January 2023. Ge Wang, Madison T Plaster, Yun-li Bai, and Cheng-gang Liu, the authors of this study, surveyed 579 consumers in four major cities in China in 2021 and found that 85% of respondents had eaten plant-based meat alternatives before, while 82% had purchased them. 

The main motivations for purchasing fake meats were people wanting to try new foods (58%) or healthy foods (56%), or environmental concerns (31%). Only 6% of respondents cited animal welfare as a motivation. Flexitarians were most likely to cite health reasons for purchasing plant-based meat, while vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians were most likely to cite religion or environmental concerns as a reason. 

Regarding the perception of animal products, 45% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “Animal-based meat is good for the environment,” and 49% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “The nutrition of plant-based meats can replace the nutrition of animal-based meat.” Of the respondents who had tried plant-based meats before, 79% preferred plant-based meats, 83% preferred meat advertised as “fresh and tender,” and 100% preferred meat produced in China. Flexitarians were willing to pay twice as much for plant-based meat compared to non-flexitarians. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.