China Targets Alternative Protein Development In New Bioeconomy Plan

May 12, 2022 - 2 min read

Beijing – On Tuesday, China's main economic regulator unveiled a five-year plan to boost the bioeconomy, highlighting alternative protein sources as a critical sector to grow in order to achieve food security and decarbonisation goals.

The 14th Five-Year Plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) included a call to develop “synthetic biology technology to explore the research and development of ‘artificial protein’ and other new food products and to realize the industrialization of food iteration upgrade and reduce the pressure on environmental resources brought by the traditional farming industry”.

According to the NDRC, the development of 'artificial protein' or alternative protein would assist China attain national food safety while also contributing to the sustainability of its food system.

“The government has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the alternative protein sector and supported its advancement by providing support for businesses and investors and promoting further development of the industry”, said Cecilia Zhao, Project Manager at Lever China. “Alternative protein will play a vital role in helping the country achieve carbon neutrality and build a secure food system and Lever China will eagerly continue to work with startups and entrepreneurs to accelerate the transition to more diverse, healthy and sustainable sources of protein”.  

In recent years, alternative protein has received a lot of attention in China. In his speech in March, President Xi JinPing stated that the country “should expand from traditional crops and livestock resources to richer biological resources, develop biotechnology and biological industries, and ask for calories and proteins from plants, animals and microorganisms”. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs' new Five-Year Plan, released in 2020, called for “research and development in cultured meat, plant-based eggs, milk, and oil, as well as recombinant protein technology”.


Lever China is a Shanghai-based consultancy that helps leading food companies upgrade to a more sustainable, humane and healthy protein supply chain.

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