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Large numbers of Chinese are giving up meat and turning vegetarian

More and more health-conscious Chinese citizens are taking to a vegetarian diet, all of which has sparked a mushrooming of vegan restaurants in the world’s most populous country. The Chinese restaurant industry over the past few years has reported growing number of entrepreneurs looking to capitalise on the popularity of healthy eating, which usually means a meatless, organic and environment-friendly diet.

In Shanghai, China’s largest city, the number of vegan outlets soared from 49 in 2012 to more than 100 last year. A report by research firm Euromonitor said though China is still the world’s biggest market for pork, beef and poultry, the demand showed decline in recent years.

The growing trend of vegetarianism showed more Chinese are turning to fruits and vegetables. China currently consumes 40% of the world’s fruit and vegetables, indicating the growing trend of vegetarianism in China. UN trade figures show that between 2010 and 2016, China’s imports of avocados rose from 1.9 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes – a 13,000-fold increase.

According to one study, the vegan market in China is expected to rise by more than 17% between 2015 and 2020. This will be the fastest rate of growth internationally in this time period and suggests a huge shift in consumer habits in Asia.

And according to, health campaigns are also trying to influence people’s habits, like the environmental group WildAid, who held an event in Beijing in August 2017 to promote vegetarianism.

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