Chinese soybean demand growth is expected to wane in the next few years amid slower population growth and a change in the nation’s consuming habits, according to meat producer Wellhope Foods Co.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese soybean demand growth is expected to wane in the next few years amid slower population growth and a change in the nation’s consuming habits, according to meat producer Wellhope Foods Co.
Soybean purchases by the world’s largest importer should stabilize at roughly 100 million metric tons at least for the next five years, Vice President Sun Lige said in an interview during a US Soybean Export Council conference in New York. That’s 1 million metric tons more than the US Department of Agriculture’s projection for the 2023-24 season.
Chinese imports of soybean, a key ingredient to animal feed, soared roughly fivefold since the early 2000s as rapid economic growth created an expanding middle class that can afford more protein in their diets. But China’s $18 trillion economy is now slowing, with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley downgrading their projections for economic growth this year to below the government’s 5% target.
What’s more, consumers are gradually shifting their meat consumption from pork to alternative proteins such as fish and chicken, which require less feed to grow, according to Lige.
“White meat is typically seen as cheaper, healthier and easier to cook,” Lige said. The shift is driven by consumer preferences rather than government policy, he added.
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