China tracks sales of pickled vegetable to study migration trends
BEIJING (AFP) - Tracking the flows of China's 263 million migrant workers is a huge challenge, but officials have found the answer in packs of pickled root vegetables.
Zhacai, made from parts of a mustard plant variety, is a cheap and popular dish among Chinese migrant workers, with Fuling the biggest-selling brand in the country.
Normally, demand for such low-value consumable foods is stable in a city unless there is a change in the migrant population, so the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning agency, is using it as a substitute indicator, the Economic Observer reported last week.
The "zhacai index" measures changes in Fuling Zhacai sales by regional share and "can reflect the population flow trend", it quoted an unnamed NDRC official as saying.