A little girl helps sell her family’s carrots during Beijing daily open air street market. A Saturday farmers market attracts huge crowds in Beijing, as street vendors bark out prices and buyers vie for the best produce, live fish and crabs, and freshly butchered cuts of meat. Such markets offer a dizzying array of variety and freshness. Supplying local tastes, however, could prove challenging as China’s urban population grows.
As rural residents move to the cities, they eat much more meat, studies have shown. The USDA forecasts that Chinese meat consumption will rise over the next decade. Pork, China’s primary meat, is expected to rise the fastest, but cheaper chicken could also take a larger share of the Chinese diet.
And Chinese appetites for chicken feet, pig ears and innards are more than a cultural curiosity: Using the whole animal has provided food security for China, and it could be a growing opportunity for U.S. producers to export these cuts, says Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
The big questions: Can notoriously inefficient Chinese livestock producers compete with cheap imports? And if China pursues self-sufficiency in pork, will consumers pay the price of more expensive meat?
by Lynn Hicks and Rodney White, via Instagram. China, 2014.
Reporting on China’s food security challenges by Pulitzer Center grantees Rodney White and Lynn Hicks.