Beyond Meat partners retail chain to expand presence in Japanese Market

JAPAN- Beyond Meat has announced a new deal with United Super Market Holdings (USMH), one of the biggest grocery chains in the country at the SKS Japan conference held in Tokyo.

The new agreement will see USMH have exclusive distribution rights for Beyond Meat-branded products in Japan.

The Japanese retail giant will also be permitted to use Beyond’s meat in new products created specifically for the Japanese market.

Products co-developed as part of the relationship will be marketed under USMH’s Green Growers brand, which was first introduced by the supermarket chain to market lettuce.

These items, the first of which will contain minced plant-based ground beef from Beyond Meat, will also have Beyond’s branding in a manner resembling a “powered by Beyond” style.

Products created under the Green Grower brand will be adapted to particular formats and consumer preferences in Japan.

The agreement with USMH marks Beyond Meat’s second attempt to get into the Japanese market.

The business’s initial effort was supposed to be made through a collaboration with investor Mitsui, who had previously backed the alternative protein company in 2016.

However, the two businesses declared in 2018 that they had abandoned their attempt to enter Japan.

The Japanese government is joining the market boom and demonstrating support for plant-based and alternative proteins as part of the country's effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

This partnership will enable Beyond Meat to enter the market in collaboration with USMH, a significant grocery chain that has an in-depth understanding of the tastes and preferences of Japanese consumers.

The MaxValu, Maruetsu, and Kasumi brands of stores, owned by USMH, have more than 500 retail locations in Japan.

According to GourmetPro, the market for plant-based products in Japan alone is predicted to grow twofold between 2019 and 2022 and reach a value of more than US$270 million.

The Japanese government is joining the market boom and demonstrating support for plant-based and alternative proteins as part of the country’s effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Despite low awareness of around 20% of plant-based cuisine, consumer opinions are expanding across Japan.

According to a poll performed last year, 40% of customers who were aware of plant-based foods had at least tasted one, usually dairy-free milk.

Given that at least 70% of Asians are lactose intolerant, Japanese consumers are mostly motivated by their health, which would promote their interest in nondairy products.

Another recent poll by the Good Food Institute APAC showed that interest in alternative and plant-based seafood is growing throughout Asia, primarily for health-related reasons.

The trend is being driven by consumer concern over heavy metals and microplastics in seafood.

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