Sow, Sprout, Grow: Understanding China’s Plant-Based Food Market

  • Date
    30 August 2023
  • Beijing Time
    16:00 - 17:50
  • Brussels Time
    10:00 - 11:50
  • Location
    Online & Shanghai
  • Venue
    Zoom | European Chamber Shanghai Office Unit 2204, Shui On Plaza, 333 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Shanghai
  • Open to
    All European SMEs
string(5) "00:00"
string(5) "00:00"

Over the past thirty years, meat consumption has increased five-fold in China, transforming the country into the world’s largest meat consumer. Today, with the United Nations Environment Programme describing meat as “the world’s most urgent problem“, concerns over health and sustainability are leading policymakers, businesses and consumers to turn towards greener options.

Plant-based food options are now gaining ground, with domestic and international F&B brands bringing new trends to dinner tables. In the European Union, the Farm to Fork strategy calls for a fair, healthy and sustainable food system; one of its approaches is transitioning from intensive animal agriculture to more plant-based food production. In China, the vegan food market is forecast to be worth nearly 12 billion US dollars this year, according to a report by Euromonitor International.

On 30 August, the EU SME Centre and European Union Chamber of Commerce in China invite you to identify current market trends, regulations for manufacturers and exporters, as well as opportunities in plant-based food in China. During this event that will be held in Shanghai and online, experts will analyse recent exports and present the regulatory landscape. Our speakers and panellists will share their experience of the market, explain how they built competitive advantages over other brands and guide SMEs with benchmarks against leading entities that are thriving in this sector.

This workshop is free of charge and is open to all SMEs from EU Member States and countries participating in the Single Market Programme, as well as to all members of the European Chamber and partner organisations of the EU SME Centre. The event will be held in English.


15:30 – 16:00 (Shanghai participants only)

Registration at the venue

16:00 – 16:05

Opening remarks
Introduction by the EU SME Centre and European Chamber
Ms Mei Chu, Senior Marketing and Events Manager, European Chamber Shanghai Chapter

16:05 – 16:30

Chinese Plant-Based Market Outlook for SMEs
Ms Shirley Lu, Country Executive Director Greater China, ProVeg International

16:30 – 16:55

How Do Regulations in China Lead Opportunities for Plant-Based Food in the Global Largest Protein Consumption Market
Ms Cecilia Zhao, Impact Project Manager (New Protein), Lever China

16:55 – 17:45

Panel discussion and Q&A
Mr Connor Yin, Working Group Coordinator, Agriculture, Food & Beverage; Auto Components; Research & Development, European Chamber

Ms Ivy Ye, Director, Risk Consulting, KPMG
Dr Stefan Schmale, CEO, NOIX AG
Ms Chloe Lin, Director of Sustainability, Greater China, OATLY

17:45 – 17:50

Closing remarks

Speakers and Panellists
Shirley Lu
ProVeg International Country Executive Director Greater China

Shirley Lu serves as Country Executive Director – Greater China of ProVeg International, the largest European non-profit organisation for plant-based diets and food innovations. On this role, Shirley launched the first ever plant-based innovation campaign with major universities and leading food manufacturers to introduce planted-based food offerings that appeal to the Chinese taste buds. She is planning to roll out this campaign to the Southeast Asia region. To accelerate plant-based innovations in China, Shirley has spoken and initiated forums bringing together officials, academics, senior food executives as well as startup entrepreneurs to provide insights and share opportunities and challenges.

Shirley has extensive background in both retail foods and food service in Asia. She started her career with P&G in Taiwan, and has worked for Mars in Southeast Asia, Korea, and Taiwan, Unilever in China, Rich’s Foods Asia in Shanghai, and as the regional marketing head at Tate & Lyle APAC in specialty food ingredients based in Singapore. Her expertise includes go-to-market strategy, innovation, brand & product portfolio management, insights, brand communication, and customer acquisition. Shirley’s footprint goes beyond Asia. She has frequented major international food shows to scout for new ideas and innovations driving the green food movement.

Shirley had served as Vice Chair at AmCham Shanghai’s Food, Agriculture & Beverage Committee from 2010 to 2019 and was the founder and leader of the Foodservice sub-committee.

She holds a BA degree from National Taiwan University and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.

Cecilia Zhao
Lever China Impact Project Management

Lever China is a Shanghai-based consultancy that focuses on early-stage investment and consultancy services in the alternative protein industry, with the aim to advance innovation by supporting startups, investors and food companies.

As a keen advocator of sustainability and animal welfare, Cecilia Zhao is an impact project manager at Lever China. She is devoted to impacting big corporations in the food related industries to be the leaders for the food sustainability transactions. With over 5 years experience working in the hospitality industry and 3 years consulting in the alternative protein sector, Cecilia is familiar with synthesising the great missions and the real industry needs to reflect the unique opportunities for building a sustainable food system in China.

Chloe Lin
OATLY Director of Sustainability, Greater China

Chloe Lin has more than 12 years of working experience in financial and strategic consulting field, incl. FE Leasing, Citic Securities and Triwise Capital.

She joined OATLY in 2019 and is responsible for Sustainability APAC, including promoting the localisation of global policies/requirements, formulating an Asia sustainability strategy, and planning and implementing key projects.

Foundation projects: LCA at company/enterprise level, restorative farming (coffee bean) project, factory APAC1&2 energy and water solution, waste and circular economy solution, ingredient research and entry approval, PCR innovation, Plant-based category building, innovation hub.

Other projects: 2021/2023 White paper of China Oat Milk Industry, Silent Barista; Hey Barista; OATLY recycling project etc.

Education: UC Berkeley, CKGSB, XMU

Ivy Ye
KPMG Risk Consulting Director

Ivy Ye has been working in the areas of risk management, compliance, internal audit / internal control advisory for over 17 years. She has accumulated extensive experience and rich knowledge in providing such services to companies with different sizes from different industries including Consumer Markets, Real Estate, Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing etc.

Before joining KPMG, Ivy worked in MNC (Retail) as China Risk & Compliance Officer for several years, which gave her plenty experience in establishing a localised Risk & Compliance scheme with practical and efficient approaches.

Stefan Schmale

After studying in Germany, the USA, France and Switzerland, Stefan worked as a managing director or board member for various European brand companies, including Paulaner Brewery and MEGGLE Dairy. While his personal focus is on strategy and corporate development, he also gained broad operational experience in managing production, sales, procurement and finance. During his career, Stefan successfully founded several companies in Europe, the USA and Asia. In China, he has been active since 2000.

Most recently Stefan founded NOIX AG, who since 2020 produces and sells plant based foods in China under the brand name JOOMA, using a special proprietary technology.

Mei Chu
Senior Marketing and Events Manager, European Chamber Shanghai Chapter

Mei Chu is the Senior Marketing and Events Manager in Shanghai Chapter, responsible for the overall marketing and events planning for Shanghai Chapter. Before joining the Chamber, Mei has worked in China-Britain Business Council leading the consumer sector in Shanghai.

She has accumulated experience in FMCG industry working at Nestle as the marketing lead for infant nutrition business and cross-border e-commerce.

Connor Yin
European Chamber Working Group Coordinator

Connor Yin joined the European Chamber in 2022 as a working group coordinator, leading the Agriculture, Food and Beverage, Auto Components, and R&D Working Groups.

Prior to joining the Chamber, he worked for a consulting firm as a government consultant, providing services to several provincial and municipal governments. He graduated from Purdue University and University College London.

string(5) "00:00"
string(5) "00:00"

Sign up and benefit from our entire range of free services

If you sign up today you’ll be able to

  • Access to tailored advice through our Ask-the-Expert tool
  • A library of over 200 publications
  • Practical business tools
  • A network of trade promotion and business support partners
  • A comprehensive database of service providers with contact information