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Brief: Cultivated meat included under China’s Five-Year Plan for the first time

January 31, 2022

  • Cultivated meat and related technologies have been pinpointed as areas for R&D investment under China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, marking the first time alt-protein has been specifically mentioned in relation to the top-level economic development guidelines issued by the country’s government.
  • “Future food” is among several “frontier and cross-disciplinary technologies” outlined in a new policy document published by China’s Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs which sets out agricultural policy objectives under the 14th Five-Year Plan.
  • The document highlights cell-cultured meat, synthetic egg analogs, and recombinant proteins as specific areas of interest for Chinese economic planners.

Why it matters:

China’s periodic Five-Year Plans represent its highest level of socioeconomic policymaking, setting the country’s long-term economic development goals across all sectors.

Given the size of the Chinese economy and consumer base, the inclusion of cultivated meat under the current Five-Year Plan marks a major milestone for the the technology.

It suggests “agricultural officials believe that making meat directly from cells is in the national interest […] That could, in turn, lead to more research funding,” Good Food Institute CEO Bruce Friedrich wrote in a social media post.

Singapore grants world’s first regulatory approval for ‘lab-grown’ meat – read more here

“China is far and away the largest consumer of eggs and meat in the world,” Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick told Time, adding that the initiative “could accelerate the country’s regulatory timeline for cultivated meat.”

“In short, this is one of – if not the – most important policy actions in the history of alternative proteins,” he said.

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