In the Hutong
Burning up the Keyboard
In The Wall Street Journal China RealTime Blog, James Areddy writes a brilliant article about the role oils play in the Chinese diet, and the challenge this presents Chinese policymakers when the prices of oils rise quickly. What intrigued me most, however, was a throwaway comment about two thirds the way down the page.
To counter the oil shock, Beijing is urging consumers to diversify their tastes and consider their health. According to the Xinhua news agency, “Chefs say olive oil complements Chinese cuisine and you don’t have to worry about sacrificing great taste.
If the central government, via Xinhua, is extolling the virtues of olive oil, what happens when hundreds of millions of Chinese start paying attention? What happens to the price of all of oil, especially the extra-virgin varieties, when hundreds of millions of Chinese families decide to start cooking with olive oil?
Can China become an olive oil producing nation? Or can the rest of the world ramp up production sufficiently to meet the needs not only of health-conscious Americans and Europeans, but of increasingly prosperous and very hungry Chinese?