Chinese market specialist Xin Wei made a presentation to Irish exporters and Chinese buyers in Shanghai last week. The presentation was given during the “Sustainable EU Meat from Ireland” trade seminar organised by Bord Bia and opened by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

In his presentation Xin Wei went through the peculiarities of the Chinese market. Among the key messages were that consumers were very conscious of safety and health, consumers did a lot of shopping for fresh food online, and that they preferred local food.

However, the most important piece of information in the presentation was a chart showing the forecast for meat demand in China.

A 20kg per capita increase in meat consumption over the next decade is a lot. For China, with a population of 1.4 billion people, that 20kg means a whole market increase of 28 million tonnes.

According to most recent data, Ireland’s total production of meat was less than 1.5 million tonnes.

To put it another way, if this forecast is correct, then the increase in Chinese consumption every year over the next decade will be more than the total amount of meat Ireland can supply in any year.