This paper investigates significant forces that affect away-from-home meat consumption in China. Multivariate Tobit models are used to analyse a set of survey data from 340 households in Jiangsu, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Sichuan Provinces in 2005. Away-from-home meat consumption is accounting for an increasing share of food consumption expenditure in China. As well as the income level and urban location, away-from-home meat consumption is also influenced by family characteristics such as the employment status of the wife and the opportunity to participate in collective consumption. Beef and mutton consumption is higher in Inner Mongolia and Liaoning. The research is limited to the survey data used. China's food economy is so large and it is inadequate for us to assert that the survey described herein by itself provides a basis for generating general results. However, the various components of the study provide results that were consistent with each other and with earlier studies. The paper makes the case that studies of food consumption for China should have greater emphasis on food-away-from-home expenditure. In addition, future studies should probably integrate food consumption at home with food consumption away from home. Away from home beef consumption is expected to continue to increase. As the Chinese economy continues to grow and China becomes more urbanised, the wealth generated will result in further rapid growth in beef consumption. Sourcing an adequate supply to meet the increasing demand will pose a significant challenge for the Chinese beef industry and the Chinese government.