More than a quarter of all the meat produced in the world is eaten in China. The country’s annual meat consumption of 71 million tons is more than double that in the US (which is falling). Pork is China’s meat of choice, accounting for nearly three fourths of its meat consumption. Each of the 1.3 billion people in China eats an average of 84 lbs. of pork a year, while Americans average 59 lbs.
In 2010, pork prices fell and many of China’s 400 million pigs were slaughtered to stabilize the price. As a result, farmers couldn’t keep up with the demand. The government has 450 million pounds of frozen pork in reserve but that would last only a few days. Yesterday, the Chinese meat processor Shuanghui announced it will buy the world’s biggest pork producer Smithfield Foods, of Smithfield, VA, for $4.72 billion. We wonder how the sale will affect Smithfield’s brand new restaurant “Taste of Smithfield.” It opened less than a year ago (in where else but Smithfield, VA) to help promote its pork products. It boasts a “rousing tasting of the pig” but also offers a few items “for our vegetarian friends.”