In China, diets have changed along with bank balances. Since the 1960s, annual meat consumption has rocketed from an average of less than 4 kilograms per person at the start of that decade to over 45 kilograms today, spurred on by rising economic prosperity.
However, in 2016, dietary guidelines drawn up by the country's health ministry recommended that the population halve its meat intake by the end of this decade. Some might see that as a problem; others an opportunity.
"There will never be a silver bullet to being (able) to really solve the food security problem," she says. Better, then, to have a wide arsenal of solutions in the company portfolio. Alternative protein is not the only big-ticket issue Bits x Bites is looking to address. It has invested in foodtech companies like Singapore's Alchemy, creator of an additive fiber that reduces the glycemic index of some refined carbohydrates -- a cause of high blood sugar levels, and linked to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Another area is in agritech. In 2015 the Chinese government announced a plan for "zero growth" in pesticide use by 2020. With fewer chemicals, farming needs to turn to other methods to sustain and even increase yield. Bits x Bites has invested in Tropic Biosciences, which is creating new high-performance plant varieties through gene editing, Alesca Life, a fabricator of urban farm units, and agri-robot manufacturer EAVision.
Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in agriculture, Ho says, given China's aging farming population and a shortage of farmworkers that she describes as a "crisis."
"China represents 15% percent of the world's population, but only has less than 7% of the land," says Ho. "How China is going to feed our own population in the next two decades will have very important implications."
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