Plant-based meats in China: a cross-sectional study of attitudes and behaviours

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2022 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/jhn.13092. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: This study investigated potential opportunities or challenges for plant-based meat in the Chinese market. A quantitative framework was applied to determine the current level of familiarity and experience with plant-based meat among Chinese consumers, the proportion of consumers who would try or purchase plant-based meat, which demographics within China are most likely to buy plant-based meat and which attitudes are important in driving the purchase intent of plant-based meat.

Methods: A pre-registered cross-sectional online survey (N = 1206) was distributed to respondents (matched to China's adult population for gender and age).

Results: Respondents reported a variety of dietary identities, with 43.4% reporting that they were reducing or avoiding meat. The majority of respondents (60.1%) said they had eaten plant-based meat at least once before. Of those who said they had never eaten plant-based meat, 41.9% intended to try it and 31.4% intended to purchase it. The strongest attitudinal predictor of plant-based meat purchase intent was perceived healthiness (β = 0.235, p < 0.001), whereas the strongest demographic predictor of plant-based meat purchase intent was age (β = -0.248, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that an approach based on increasing opportunities for trial, as well as appealing to specific attitudinal and demographic predictors of plant-based purchase intent, could prove successful in increasing adoption of plant-based and alternative meat products.

Keywords: China; consumer behaviour; meat reduction; meat replacement; plant-based meat.