The Coronavirus Is Pushing China Toward a Meatless Future
China is embracing veganism amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is urging the organization to go meatless in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the political body’s official receptions, Xu Jingkun recommended the organization follow a vegetarian diet, reports the Global Times.

Earlier this year, China banned the consumption and trade of wild animals following mounting, global pressure surrounding COVID-19. The ban exempts the use of wild animals for non-food purposes, such as for scientific and medical research.

Some experts believe the coronavirus originated at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which passed a similar ban this month.

Despite the government’s ban, Jingkun says wild animal meat is still being served at official reception meals. According to WION news, Jingkun says he worries more infections will occur if people do not stop consuming wildlife.

China’s Shift To Plant-Based

In 2016, the Chinese government released an updated set of dietary guidelines that recommended a reduction in meat consumption in order to combat diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Due to its numerous health benefits, veganism is already on the rise in many parts of China. In Hong Kong, a survey by Green Monday—an organization that promotes the plant-based lifestyle in the region—revealed nearly a quarter of the population were limiting their meat intake by following a flexitarian diet.

The study also found that 70 percent of the Hong Kong residents surveyed said they were willing to try flexitarianism by eating meat-free meals once a week.

Another recent study by Deliveroo Hong Kong revealed vegan food orders are on the rise in the region. As of May, the delivery service says meat-free food orders in Hong Kong have soared by 104 percent compared to the same time period last year.

A number of companies are rushing to meet the growing demand for plant-based products.

Cargill announced it would roll out its range of plant-based meat products in China following a successful trial of its vegan nuggets at select KFC China locations.

Starbucks added five Beyond Meat products to its lunch menu in more than 3,000 of its China locations. Two of the dishes feature vegan pork by Hong Kong’s plant-based meat company Omnipork, which recently launched two new “meat” products: vegan pork shoulder and Spam-like vegan luncheon meat.

Swiss food giant Nestlé is set to build its first vegan food factory in China. The company says it may also be ready to launch a plant-based meat range by the end of 2020.