Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Nippon Ham to Introduce Plant-Based Tuna Sashimi for Food Service in Japan

NH Foods, a Japanese ham manufacturer known in the country as Nippon Ham, is developing a plant-based tuna sashimi for food service.

The Japanese firm is marketing and promoting its plant-based tuna sashimi as a reliable and environmentally friendly protein source in the face of potential strain on fishery resources. Last spring, the company expanded into the alt seafood category with two plant-based seafood products — fish fries and popcorn shrimp — also highlighting the sustainability of the new alternatives.

However, instead of focusing on retail, the company will launch the new plant-based tuna sashimi exclusively for restaurants this April to learn about consumer preferences and the market.

Nippon Ham’s new plant-based tuna sashimi is made from plant-derived ingredients, including konjac flour, dietary fiber, and yeast, using a proprietary processing technology to replicate the smooth texture of tuna. The product will be served frozen; among other advantages, it will be available at a lower cost than tuna.

Natu Meat, a plant-based meat range, developed by the Japanese firm NH Foods.
© NH Foods

Expanding to sustainable proteins

As reported by The Shankei Shimbun, a company representative stated that even though Japan does not have religious restrictions or a significant vegetarian population driving the demand for alternative meat and fish products, the company is still interested in exploring this growing worldwide market.

Nippon Ham is a global firm with companies worldwide, including China and the US. Since its establishment in 1942, the firm has expanded from Japan’s biggest ham supplier to include non-allergenic foods and plant-based alternatives. Its portfolio encompasses fresh beef, chicken, ham, sausage, and seafood. And more recently, seafood, vegetables, and plant-based hams, sausages, and a soy-based plant-based meat range called Natu Meat.

Last November, the company released its findings from a nationwide opinion survey on alternative proteins, including plant-based, fermentation, and cultivated meat, showing that many Japanese consumers are ready to try alternative protein products.

Impact Tuna Prep
© Impact Food

Vegan sashimi is better for the planet

The global vegan sashimi market will be worth $218.8 million by 2033, growing with a CAGR of 8.5% over this period, according to Future Market Insights.

Worldwide, besides the Australian company Boldly, which offers salmon and tuna sashimi, other companies creating alternatives to raw fish include the Netherlands’ Vegan ZeaStar, the startup Current Foods, formerly known as Kuleana, and Californian alt seafood startup Impact Food.

“To feed the growing global population, 90% of the world’s fish stocks have been fully fished or overfished with wild fisheries and marine ecosystems being depleted every day by the commercial fishing industry,” Kelly Pan, Impact Food’s co-founder and CEO told vegconomist in an interview.

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