UMAMI Bioworks, previously Umami Meats, announces a business partnership with Maruha Nichiro-

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Cultivated Seafood

UMAMI Bioworks and Japan’s Largest Seafood Company Join Forces to Bring Cultivated Seafood to Market

Cultivated seafood company UMAMI Bioworks, previously Umami Meats, announces a business partnership with Maruha Nichiro (TYO: 1333), Japan’s largest seafood company. By joining forces, the companies aim to build the infrastructure of Japan’s cultivated seafood industry. As part of the agreement, Maruha Nichiro will invest in UMAMI Bioworks, gaining access to its cell cultivation platform for producing and selling cultivated seafood. The partnership also involves a multi-faceted collaboration to scale UMAMI Bioworks’ process. Mihir Pershad, CEO of UMAMI Bioworks, comments: “Our seminal partnership with Maruha Nichiro, a global leader in crafting beloved food products, is a pivotal step in achieving our mission of addressing the challenge of feeding a growing global population while minimizing environmental impact. We have the development and production technology, but we require experienced partners with …

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Umami United raises funds to develop an egg white replacer for bakery and confectionary applications

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Investments & Finance

Umami United Secures Funds to Develop Egg White Replacer, Bringing Total Raised to JPY 240M

Japanese food tech company Umami United announces the closure of a Pre-Series A round as Japanese interest in egg alternatives continues to thrive. The round was led by Beyond Next Ventures, a VC supporting early-stage entrepreneurs across Japan and India. Genesia Ventures, a Tokyo-based investor focusing on sustainability, also backed the food tech in this round. The total investment that Umami United has received to date is JPY 240 million. Headquartered in Singapore, Umami United develops plant-based eggs for the food industry. The company claims its product replicates the sensory attributes and functionalities of eggs, offering multiple applications for prepared foods and confectionery goods. With the new capital, the company will increase its R&D capabilities to develop an egg white replacer for the bakery and confectionery …

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Egg Alternatives

Egg Alternatives Gaining Traction in Japan as Poultry Egg Prices Continue to Rise

A recent article published by Japan News describes the increase in popularity of egg substitutes in the country, citing the rising cost of poultry eggs as the primary driver. “A survey conducted in May by Teikoku Databank Ltd. found that 29 of the 100 major restaurant operators had withdrawn egg-based menu items […] The trend of rising egg prices may continue for a prolonged period, so it’s crucial for restaurant operators to develop alternative menus,” state the authors. Clearly this situation represents a huge opportunity for producers of more sustainable, animal-free alternatives in Japan. There are a few producers currently on the Japanese market: Kewpie released HOBOTAMA, a soy-based egg launched in 2021 for use in the Horeca channel; 2foods’ Ever Egg was introduced in …

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5th Cellular Agriculture Conference 2023 in Japan

Foie gras-flavored savory flan made with duck liver-derived cells © IntegriCulture Inc.

Fairs & Events

Japanese and International Leaders to Speak at 5th Cellular Agriculture Conference in Tokyo

The Cellular Agriculture Institute of the Commons (CAIC), a non-profit based in Japan, and the Society for Cultured-Food Engineering will hold the 5th Cellular Agriculture Conference 2023 — known as one of the largest academic meetings on cell ag in Japan.  Scheduled for August 29, the event will be held in a hybrid format, encompassing both virtual participation and a physical venue at the WATERRAS COMMONS in Tokyo. At the 5th Cellular Agriculture Conference, participants will learn about the latest updates in cell ag, from policy-making to R&D to social and cultural studies. And this year, the conference will cover topics beyond cultivated meat, including precision fermentation and molecular farming. International speakers will discuss global cell ag trends and industry updates. Speakers “This is a unique …

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GALY to launch cultivated cotton

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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Cultivated Cotton to Enter the Market for the First Time Ever

Cultivated cotton produced by US startup GALY is set to be used commercially for the first time, after the company signed a deal with Japan’s Suzuran Medical Inc. Suzuran will use the cotton — which is grown from cells in a bioreactor — to produce medical products such as gauze and absorbent cotton, along with sheets and cosmetic cotton. According to Forbes, thousands of tons of the cultivated fibers will be used each year. The partnership is worth $50 million and will run for ten years, beginning when GALY launches its first commercial facility; however, this likely won’t be for a few years. The agreement follows the success of a proof of concept completed by the two companies in 2021. GALY has also attracted significant …

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Plant-Based Grilled Eel for Day of Ox in Japan

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Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Japan: Nissin Launching Plant-Based Grilled Eel to Celebrate Day of Ox

Nissin Food Holdings Co. announces it will launch a plant-based version of “kabayaki” grilled eel for this year’s Day of Ox commemoration. Nissan plans to debut the new eel before the country’s Day of Ox celebrations on July 30, when most people enjoy the delicacy.  Realistic taste  According to Nissin, its new plant-based eel recreates the taste, texture and appearance of real kabayaki grilled eel. Made from soy protein and other plant-derived ingredients, the product contains three layers to reproduce the fluffy texture of eel’s white meat and the fat between its meat and skin.  To create the product, the company says it developed a unique three-step process where ingredients are steamed inside a special mold, coated with sauce and roasted, then grilled until the …

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foie gras

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Food Service

Dr Foods / Next Meats Expands its Vegan Caviar & Foie Gras Into Wedding Halls Across Japan

Tokyo-based food tech Dr. FOODS Inc., a publicly listed corporation on the OTC Market in the USA under the ticker symbol “DRFS”, counting Next Meats Co as a subsidiary, revealed in January its plans to launch vegan fois gras and vegan caviar into the North American market. In April, the company stated it had successfully developed “the world’s first plant-based cultured foie gras“. Although the title of first cultivated foie gras likely belongs to France’s GOURMEY, the distinction lies in the fact that the Japanese product is not created from cultured animal cells, but uses the name “cultured foie gras” since “microorganisms are cultured in the manufacturing process. In the future, the company intends to expand into the boundary area between plant-derived meat and cultured …

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foie gras - IntegriCulture

Fois gras © IntegriCulture

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

JACA Hosts Sensory Evaluation of 5 Cultivated Meats at Promotional Event in Tokyo

The Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA), a research group dedicated to cellular agriculture and cultivated food, recently hosted the first-ever promotional event for the industry in Tokyo.  In February 2023, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that he would foster the development of the country’s cultivated food industry by promoting the sector and improving the market, including safety assurance measures, and developing labeling rules. To build a consensus on necessary measures for food safety requirements for cultivated food, JACA’s event gathered more than 150 stakeholders, government officials, and industry associations, among others. F&B key players included famous ham producer NH Foods, which recently expanded to the plant-based market with two alt seafood products and biotech company Ajinomoto, which collaborates with Israel’s SuperMeat.  Japan’s Wagyu According to the …

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Matt O'Connell of Shin-Etsu

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Interviews

Shin-Etsu: “Plant-Based Products Are a Crucial Aspect of Our Overall Sales Strategy”

Over the past few years, Japanese materials supplier Shin-Etsu has been increasingly innovating in the area of food ingredients that enhance the texture and mouthfeel of plant-based foods. The company — which has facilities in both Japan and Germany — aims to make it possible to match animal products as closely as possible in terms of taste, nutrition, and texture. In 2020, Shin-Etsu announced that it was developing its first product targeted specifically at the plant-based food market — a binder to improve the texture of meat alternatives. The company said it aimed to supply the ingredient to major producers such as Beyond Meat and Nestlé. Since then, Shin-Etsu has been expanding its range to offer more products for the alt meat industry. We spoke …

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kewpie vegan mayo

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Products & Launches

Cult Favorite KEWPIE Introduces Vegan Mayo Dressing and Spread

Q & B Foods, a division of Japan’s Kewpie Corporation, announces it is launching KEWPIE Vegan Mayo Dressing and Spread in a new 64 oz size. Described as an innovative mayonnaise alternative, KEWPIE Vegan Mayo is a plant-based version of the company’s highly popular Japanese KEWPIE mayonnaise.  KEWPIE Vegan Mayo is said to offer a rich flavor and smooth texture that closely resembles that of traditional mayo. The kosher and gluten-free product can be used across a wide range of dishes, including salads and sandwiches, and provides a base for a variety of dressings.  KEWPIE has an ambient shelf life of nine months, and the company states the new 64 oz. container can be utilized both at home and in food service. The product has also …

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Yoshikazu Azuma

Yoshikazu Azuma ©2foods

Opinion

Op Ed: Yoshikazu Azuma, CEO of 2foods, On Japan’s Evolving Vegan Market

Yoshikazu Azuma, CEO of Tokyo’s 2foods, is soon to expand Japan’s number one, 100% plant-based fast-casual and CPG brand to the US, bringing its award-winning products including ramen, Japanese curry, gateau, cheesecakes, and doughnuts, to American consumers through newly established arm 2foods US. “We believe that plant-based food has enormous potential in Japan,” says the serial entrepreneur. The ongoing evolution of plant-based in Japan By Yoshikazu Azuma The plant-based food industry has been growing at an unprecedented pace in recent years, with Europe and the United States leading the way. However, Japan is still in its early stages of development in the plant-based market, and there is much potential for growth and expansion. Despite an increase in the number of restaurants serving plant-based foods and …

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goldwin-spiber-collection

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Textiles

GOLDWIN and Spiber Present Fashion Collection Made of Brewed Protein Fiber

GOLDWIN INC. announces the launch of its Fall/Winter 2023 collection, featuring five brands simultaneously using the innovative structural protein material Brewed Protein fiber, developed in partnership with Spiber Corporation since 2015. “Through this joint development, we will rethink the relationship between nature and man and consider a completely new way of using materials” After many years of joint development, five brands — The North Face, Goldwin, nanamica, The North Face Purple Label, and Woolrich — have now launched products with Brewed Protein™ fiber, a new next-generation material from Japan, and will be available worldwide in the fall. With the start of mass production of Brewed Protein polymer at Spiber’s Thai plant in early 2022 – eight years after Goldwin and Spiber began their joint development …

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Plant-based short ribs

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Products & Launches

NEXT MEATS to Debut Marinated BBQ Product “Next Short Rib 2.1” at All Costco Japan Locations

Japanese food tech company NEXT MEATS (OTC: NXMH) announces it will launch its latest alt-protein innovation, Next Short Rib 2.1, at all 31 Costco Wholesale locations in Japan beginning in March.  Described as marinated Japanese BBQ, Next Short Rib 2.1 is made from non-GMO soybeans, and will be sold in two 200g sets in a larger package designed exclusively for Costco Japan. The 100% plant-based product is made without any additives, preservatives and artificial flavors, NEXT MEATS says, and has a refrigerator shelf life of up to 90 days. The company will also offer live cooking demonstrations and tastings at select Costco Japan locations.  New markets Based in Tokyo, NEXT MEATS is a subsidiary of NEXT MEATS Holdings, which is devoted to the research, development …

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plant based seafood

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Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Japanese Ham Manufacturer Develops Plant-Based Seafood Ahead of Global Food Crisis

Japanese Ham Manufacturer NH Foods (日本ハム株式会社), known as Nippon Ham, has developed two plant-based seafood products — fish fries and popcorn shrimp. The Japanese firm, preparing for a shortage of marine resources that could trigger a global food crisis, spent a year developing the alt products using soy protein, seaweed extracts, and other vegetable ingredients to recreate seafood’s texture and flavours, reports Euronews, adding that the products will launch in March 2023. Founded in 1949, Nippon Ham is a global firm with companies worldwide, including China and the US. The company began with the manufacturing of hams and sausage products. Over the years, it has expanded from being Japan’s biggest protein supplier to developing products such as non-allergenic foods and plant-based alternatives. Its products encompass fresh …

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integriculture's project for cultivated meat in japan

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Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Japanese PM Kishida Announces Intention to Develop Japan’s Cultivated Meat Industry

During a House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced his intention to develop Japan’s cultivated meat industry, reports Nikkei. At the meeting, he stated that he would foster Japanese food tech businesses by promoting the sector and improving the market, including safety assurance measures and developing labelling rules. Responding to Mr. Nobuhiro Nakayama of the Liberal Democratic Party, who was also at the Budget Committee, the Prime Minister stressed that “food tech, including cellular food, is an important technology from the perspective of realising a sustainable food supply.” “We must encourage initiatives that contribute to solving the world’s food problems,” he added. Safety of cultivated meat Speaking about cultivated meat safety, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Katsunobu Kato pointed …

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Daiz Miracle Meat logo

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Ingredients

Japan’s Daiz to Expand its “Miracle Meat” Internationally Through Roquette Deal

Plant protein leader Roquette announces an investment and business partnership with the Japanese plant-based meat ingredients company Daiz, referred to as the Impossible Foods of Japan. Through the business alliance, the companies will produce the pea-based Miracle Meat  — a texturized vegetable protein originally developed using soy — as part of Roquette’s pea protein portfolio development and Daiz’s market expansion goals. Pierre Courduroux, CEO of Roquette, said: “Our objective is to be the best partner for our customers as they develop delicious products that will encourage more consumers to enjoy plant-based food more often. This investment in Daiz reflects our commitment to developing plant-based ingredients to meet those expectations.” The Impossible Foods of Japan Daiz’s proprietary technology, Ochiai Germination Method, uses plant seed germination and extrusion process …

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Next Meats Debuts Steak in California

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Products & Launches

Japan’s Next Meats and Dr. Foods Will Launch Plant-Based Foie Gras, Caviar, and More in US in 2023

Tokyo-based startup Next Meats a spinoff company of Dr. Foods Inc. (OTC: DRFS) together announce they will launch Vegan Fois Gras, Vegan Caviar, and shelf-stable Next Meats products in North America in 2023.  Exclusive debut To debut the new offerings, Next Meats held an exclusive launch on Dec. 14th at the Los Angeles Cooking School and JETRO in Culver City, CA. The event featured the world-renowned Chef Reina, who prepared Next Meat’s offerings in a variety of global dishes, including Beef Stroganoff, Korean BBQ, and Bistek. Dr. Foods Inc. is the inventor of Vegan Foie Gras, described as the first vegetable-based foie gras. Next Meats says Dr. Foods will commence its business in Singapore, the global capital of cell-based food technologies.  Extensive range Next Meats …

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soy meat Japanese cafe

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Market & Trends

Report Says Meat Alternatives in Japan Have Entered Mainstream

A recent market report finds that meat alternatives in Japan have become increasingly mainstream, driven partly by a shift in consciousness since the pandemic, as well as a high acceptance of soy-based meat. The GlobalData report projects the Japanese market to reach JPY36.3 billion ($373.5 million) by 2026, with a CAGR of 5%. High affinity for soy The upswing is reportedly led by the country’s tendency towards soy-based products, which as we earlier reported, have witnessed a boom over the past two years. Soy-based foods such as soy sauce and miso are deeply ingrained in traditional Japanese culture, as such, meats created from soy are trusted by the Japanese consumer. Nikkei Asia reported in September that despite a 1.5X price increase on soybean crops since …

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Japan Airlines Vegan Tuna

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Tourism & Travel

Japan Airlines Now Offering BettaF!sh Plant-Based Tuna on Select Flights

German alt-seafood brand BettaF!sh announces its plant-based tuna will now be served aboard Japan’s second-largest airline company, Japan Airlines. Available for business and first class passengers, the TU-NAH Sandwich Wrap will be offered on flights from Tokyo to London.  Featuring BettaF!sh’s TU-NAH Creamy, the new sandwich wrap offers passengers a sustainable alternative to nostalgic tuna mayo. Japan Airlines will initially serve the snack on JL 42 and JL44 flights between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda, with plans to increase those routes’ frequency over the coming months.  “What delighted us most about working with Japan Airlines was the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from day one,” said Jacob von Manteuffel, co-founder of BettaF!sh. “It was a huge honor to have the authenticity and deliciousness of TU-NAH …

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Next Food Ecosystem

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Company News

Japan’s Next Food Ecosystem Announces Expansion Across Asia

Japanese food tech group Next Food Ecosystem has announced plans to expand its innovative products across Asia. The group consists of plant-based meat brand Next Meats, vegan foie gras producer Dr. Foods (which is a spinoff of the former), and international partner Wayback Burgers. Together, the companies will work to expand beyond Japan, using Singapore as a springboard to launch across Asia. Wayback collaboration Next Meats first announced a collaboration with Wayback Burgers last year, when the US-based chain trialled plant-based sliders made with Next’s short rib. Wayback recently opened a flagship restaurant in Tokyo, and is now searching for Asian franchise partners. Wayback Burgers Asia is also set to launch a new business venture called Next Restaurant, which will offer bento boxes containing Next …

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