Sept. 25, 2013
In China, the traditional diet of vegetables, rice, noodles, and small portions of meat—a diet hailed as one of the world’s healthiest—is disappearing. Chinese people are eating more Western food, more meat, and on top of that, more packaged, on-the-go food that comes with additives, artificial flavoring and other chemicals.
According to estimates by Euromonitor International, in terms of volume, the Chinese market for packaged processed food like ready-made meals, snacks and drinks like cookies, chips, and soda will surpass America’s by 2015. China could consume as much as 107 million tons of packaged food, compared to 102 million tons in the U.S.
That still means the average Chinese resident will eat only about a quarter as much processed food as the average American. And the American market will still be worth more ($369 billion versus an estimated $238 billion in China.) Still, Chinese consumption of these foods will have grown 66 percent from 2008, according to Euromonitor.