Waygu is a plant-based version of wagyu, a type of luxury Japanese beef. Like conventional wagyu, it is made in Japan using traditional Japanese seasonings.
AFC is owned by one of Japan’s largest foodservice companies, Zensho Holdings. It has over 4000 locations in North America, and the waygu will be available at a select number of them. This will include franchises in the Rouses Supermarkets chain in Louisiana.
Top Tier Foods says the launch is a trial and will be the first real test for the product.
When the waygu was first launched last year, it experienced immediate success. One Japanese master chef said he was highly impressed by it and wouldn’t have guessed it was plant-based.
Australian company JAT Oppenheimer also launched vegan wagyu beef last year, sparking backlash from beef farmers who opposed the use of the name for a plant-based product.
“This trial will hopefully be the beginning of a long and successful partnership between AFC, Zensho Holdings and Top Tier Foods,” said Top Tier Foods president Blair Bullus. “With an ever-increasing demand for plant-based alternatives, we believe Top Tier Foods can help fill that demand with unique products that offer both quality and sustainability for Zensho’s global clientele.”