China Focus: Taste of tech: food nutritionist aspires to build Chinese equivalent of KFC

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 26, 2018
Adjust font size:

NANJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Why would a Chinese food nutrition professor start a roast chicken business and be ambitious enough to want to turn it into a chain as popular as KFC?

Huang Ming's restaurant in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, is branded as "Professor Huang." Customers sometimes have to wait in long queues to buy menu items such as roast chicken and salted duck.

The store's logo is a cartoon image of a scholar wearing glasses. It was drawn after its founder, the 48-year-old professor from the College of Food Science and Technology of the Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU).

After receiving his Ph.D. at NAU in 2003, Huang began working at the university. His field of research is meat product processing and quality control.

"I noticed that many people buy cooked meat such as roast chicken on street, although they are aware that the food may not be very healthy due to excessive adding of additives," said Huang.

In 2009, when he was still an associate professor, he got the idea to transform his laboratory findings into food production, in the hope that people can enjoy safe and delicious meat products.

He started his entrepreneurship by acquiring a food company that was on the verge of bankruptcy in Nanjing. He ran the food company with his expertise in raw material selection, food processing and preservation.

Six years later, Huang opened his first restaurant outlet in the city, which soon gained huge popularity.

Now the professor owns more than a dozen chain stores in Nanjing that are capable of churning out 30,000 roast chickens a day, with sales of 35 million yuan (5 million U.S. dollars) last year.

In 2017, the Chinese government gave a clear signal to encourage university staff like Huang to start entrepreneurship. The Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued a document and proposed measures to support professionals to work part-time or establish enterprises.

With the government incentives, Huang is confident in expanding the food chain to other cities including Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. He also plans to open outlets abroad.

"Americans like to eat chicken and Japanese share a similar food culture with China. There's no reason to miss these markets," Huang said.

"In the first few years, some people raised their doubts about me not attending to my proper duties at the school. But the food industry experience gives me findings and inspiration to assist in research," he said.

Huang said that in the food business, he encountered problems that could not be found in labs, and this helped him produce more papers and patents.

In the research, he tackled how to ensure the quality of cooked food without preservatives and how to maintain the flavor of meat products with less salt and MSG.

He and his teammates also invented an automatic oil-water separation frying mechanism, that can reduce the possible harm caused by fried foods.

In the third year of setting up his business and at the age of 42, Huang obtained his professorship for his achievements in helping his graduate students win honors and publish SCI papers in international journals.

In early November, Huang's enterprise was designated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs as the "National Center for Research and Development of Poultry Meat Processing Technology." His entrepreneurship was also awarded by the Ministry of Education. Enditem

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from