FAKE MEAT SCANDALS


FAKE MEAT SCANDALS ARE A SERIOUS CONCERN IN CHINA

Fake lamb above has a very pronounced separation between white and red parts of the meat. It falls apart easy.   In 2013 - 2015 and beyond one of China’s many food scandals was Chinese police catching traders who sold rat, fox, and mink meat (which was never inspected) as mutton, reported The New York Times. The 20,000 tons of fake mutton meat was mixed with gelatin, red pigment, and nitrates, and was worth $1.6 million.  That year, at least 904 people were arrested in China for selling fake or adulterated meats, and over 1,721 illicit factories and shops were broken up in the country.  Upscale to today...

NEW FAKE FOOD

Some new companies that focus on plant protein are starting to do business in Hong Kong. They aim to enter the mainland’s successful multi-billion-dollar food market.

Impossible Foods, JUST and Beyond Meat say their products are more sustainable  and environmentally friendly than animal meat.  

Plant proteins are fake meat products made from vegetables and grains. They include eggless eggs, pea-stuffed burgers and cell-grown fish products.

The research firm Market and Markets says the value of the global meat substitutes market was around $4.6 billion last year and is predicted to reach $6.4 billion by 2023. Asia is the fastest growing part of that market.

BIG MONEY

Plant protein firms have financial support from some of the world’s top billionaires, including Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, philanthropist Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Peter Thiel is one of those giving money to San Francisco-based JUST. The company has a value of $1 billion and is planning to start selling its mung bean fake egg product in six Chinese cities starting next month.

The company says its use of the mung bean, a typical Chinese food, helps Chinese customers feel more comfortable with the foods made with it. They trust that it is safe.

PREVIOUS ISSUES
China has a history of food safety issues. The problems have included eggs with plastic powder, very old frozen meat and crops ruined with heavy metals.   Nick Cooney is a partner of Lever VC, a U.S.-Asian investor focused on the new food companies. He said Chinese customers will try new, different foods more easily than people in other countries.

Beyond Meat makes burgers and sausages from pea protein. Its sales in Hong Kong increased by 300 percent last year, said Beyond Meat’s David Yeung.