What's the Latest Development?
Market research firm Euromonitor International estimates that by 2015 Chinese customers could be eating as many as 107 million metric tons of packaged, processed food, surpassing Americans' consumption by five million and making China the largest convenience food market in the world. Even though the average Chinese citizen will still eat a lot less processed food than the average American, and the American market will have more estimated value ($369 billion versus $238 billion), the increase in the number of Chinese eating that food will represent a 66 percent jump from 2008.
What's the Big Idea?
Just as was the case for the US in the mid-20th century, vast changes in China's culture -- notably the increase of women in the workforce and the move from rural to urban settings -- are why convenience foods of all types are becoming more popular. More money in citizens' pockets also means more access to these foods as well as to meat. However, with this access comes problems that are all too familiar: New research indicates that 12 percent of Chinese adults have diabetes, and the number of diabetes-related complications is growing significantly. And despite having more money, most find that healthier processed foods, such as those without preservatives, are still out of reach.
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