The Chinese meat industry maintained slow growth of 3% in terms of total volume sales in 2012, to reach 81 million tonnes. The robust growth of meat consumption in rural areas drove sales of pork, beef and other meat, thanks to the improving standard of living and higher consumer incomes.
Although meat consumption per capita reached 60kg in 2012, Chinese consumers still ate far more vegetables than meat over the past four years.
Per capita consumption of pork, which was 39kg in 2012, still ranked first in the domestic market, increasing by 2%. Volume sales of pork reached 52 million tonnes in 2012, which was 64% of total sales of the meat industry. However, the share of pork in volume terms decreased in recent years, whilst poultry, which is much cheaper than other kinds of meat, gained share.
Lamb, mutton and goat saw the biggest increase in terms of volume sales in 2012, of 6%, thanks to its high nutritional value and low fat content, as well as rising production in China, especially in Inner Mongolia.
Owing to food safety crises in China, consumers opted to choose high-end meat products or imported products in order not to buy meat containing clenbuterol. More countries showed an interest in exporting their beef and poultry to China between 2007 and 2012, such as Australia and the US.
Thus the volume of imported meat in China maintained fast growth over the past five years, as consumers believed that the quality and safety of meat products from imported countries were more reliable.
Competition within the Chinese meat industry has been forecast to be even fiercer through to 2017, due to consumers' growing brand awareness and higher demands in terms of food safety.
The major players in frozen and chilled meat products, such as China Yurun Food Group and Shuanghui Group, are expected to expand their production lines and increase capacity in order to control the entire supply chain. International players such as Hormel Foods will also speed up their expansion in order to seize the opportunities offered by the middle and high-end of the market in meat.
For more information on the Chinese meat industry, see the latest research: Chinese Meat Industry
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