China looks like it will soon overtake the United States in a rather unforeseen category: It’s poised to become number one in the consumption of processed foods.
Euromonitor International estimates that in terms of volume, the Chinese market for packaged, processed foods like ready-made meals, and junk items like cookies, chips, and soda, will surpass America’s by 2015 with 107 million tons of packaged food in China, compared to 102 million tons in the U.S.
Just like America, processed food consumption is having its effects on China’s population. Twelve percent of China’s adult population (114million people) have diabetes, causing complications such as cardiovascular and kidney disease, as well as strokes, which experts say amount to a “major epidemic.”
American presidents may talk about exporting democracy, but the one thing that they have been the most successful at exporting is the Western diet which is at the root cause of most, if not all, of the major diseases: Diabetes, Heart disease and Cancer.
In China alone, McDonald’s now has more than 1600 restaurants, and Bloomberg reported last year that the fast-food chain generates around 22 percent of its revenue from franchises in the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa.
Food is definitely taking its toll. The 2012 Singapore Chinese Health Study, found that eating Western-style fast food including burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, hot dogs, and other types of sandwiches on a regular basis significantly increased the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease.
In terms of packaged foods, the Chinese appear to especially love their cookies, almost all of which are imported from abroad. Last year, the Chinese cookie market was worth more than $24 billion, according to Ibis World, ballooning more than 21 percent in the last five years.But lets not just pick on the Chinese, they are by no means the only country that succumbed to the convenient lure of Western-style fast food. A study released earlier this year found that for the first time ever, sales of fast food items like pizza and hamburgers surpasses those of more traditional French foods.
“In the land of gastronomy,” France’s Le Point magazine declared, “fast food has become the king.”
Source: Bloomberg, Le Point and Take Part
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