Long-term changes in the Chinese animal protein market
The Chinese market for animal protein will suffer long-term modification in the coming years, as the ASF crisis and the pandemic is reshaping consumption habits among consumers. A shift in distribution channels are not only reshaping the supply side, but also the way consumers behave, says Chenjun Pan, senior analyst for Rabobank. "Major trends we see driving future change include more diversified consumer groups, more blurring of the distinction between various market segments and channels, and a higher demand for convenience and smaller packaging," she explained.
Among the major animal proteins, pork consumption has seen the greatest changes in recent years, as a result of ASF. Pork consumption is also elastic to price change under specific conditions, and, given that ongoing price volatility is likely, it will remain responsive to price. Poultry is facing challenges relating to supply chain reshaping but will grow along with c-stores and the overall demand for convenience foods. Beef, which used to be consumed mainly in eating-out-of-home channels, is now finding ways to penetrate into home consumption, which might open new opportunities for beef market growth.
In the last two years, China has witnessed a pig herd contraction of almost 40% and an increase in animal protein imports due to the deficit created by the ASF crisis. However, as the pork prices have jumped to over $5 per kilogram, consumers are looking to other alternatives such as chicken meat or beef.
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