NGO GoalBlue signs up Chinese celebrity chef Mi Zi Jun to promote tilapia

Published on
October 14, 2019

A Chinese non-governmental organization has signed up a social media celebrity chef to encourage consumers to eat more sustainable seafood – by eating more tilapia.

Mi Zi Jun, a celebrity chef with an online following of 13 million on the Weibo microblogging platform, has been signed up by GoalBlue, a Shenzhen-based NGO seeking to make Chinese consumer choices more sustainable. Her videos could prove a major boost for local producers of tilapia, traditionally an export-oriented species.

In a video broadcast to her followers, Mei demonstrated various ways of cooking tilapia. Broadcasting out of the central Chinese city of Chongqing, home to the popular Sichuan style of cuisine, Mi Zi Jun’s videos showcases many spicy, pepper laden dishes common to the region.

GoalBlue is run by May Mei, former long-time China head of the international NGO Wild Aid, which was recognized for groundbreaking work in reducing Chinese consumption of shark fins. Mei has been effective in enlisting leading Chinese celebrities and officials into her campaigns.

In a research report it compiled earlier this year, GoalBlue showed support for sustainability was highest among females aged 18 to 35 with a college education. Compiled with help from the Packard Foundation and other Chinese and international collaborators, the report showed a lack of knowledge among Chinese consumers over the sources of seafood in local markets, especially in regard to aquaculture.

Social media celebrity chefs have become a feature of Weibo with some of them engaged by promotion agencies to promote imported seafood products. 

Photo courtesy of Mi Zi Jun/YouTube

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