In the fourth part of our series, Jonathan Watts reports from China, where rising demand for meat from a growing middle class is destabilising world food prices.
… young Beijingers are becoming as enthusiastic about French fries, burgers and fried chicken as their counterparts in New York or London. In the past 20 years KFC has gone from one to 2,000 outlets in China, McDonald’s from zero to 800.
In lifting 300 million people out of poverty over the past 30 years, China also saw an improvement in diets that made the country healthier. According to the World Food Programme, a six-year-old boy today in China is 6kg heavier and 6cm taller than his counterpart at the start of economic reforms in 1978. But there are signs that more children and adults are simply becoming fatter. In the first 15 years after economic reforms the number of people defined as overweight in China more than doubled to 200 million, according to the Asian Development Bank.