JAPAN – Japanese meat alternative company Next Meats has begun construction of a new eco-friendly, alternative protein production facility in Nigata, Japan in an effort to expands its production capacity amid rising demand.
According to a Food Bev report, The Next Factory will be a ‘one-stop hub’ dedicated to the production of alternative protein products and will feature both an R&D lab and a production line.
It will incorporate DX systems as well as solar panels and other sustainable technologies and will prove critical in Next Meat’s mission to accelerate the growth of the alternative meat industry in Japan and around the world.
Based in Tokyo, Next Meats manufactures plant-based meat analogues such as its Yakiniku Short-Rib and Gyudon, a vegan alternative to the traditional Japanese beef bowl.
Most recently, the company developed a plant-based egg alternative called Next Egg 1.0 and launched Yakiniku in the US.
The company has also agreed to co-produce a new product with Japanese snack manufacturer, Kameda Seika.
With the large-scale facility, Next Meats aims to further stabilise the global supply chain of its products while lowering retail costs and strengthening its R&D capabilities.
The alternative protein market has seen a rapid expansion in recent years as consumers look for replacements for animal protein not only has a negative impact on the environment but is also associated with animal-borne diseases.
According to Allied Market Research, the global meat substitute market size is expected to register a CAGR of 7.2% from 2021 to 2027 to reach $8,823.6 million by 2027.
In Japan where Next Meats is based, Meros Consulting notes that the market is expanding at a faster rate because of health-conscious consumers, and not necessarily in response to vegan or vegetarian trends, nor any particular focus on the environmental benefits of plant-based products.
According to Tokyo-based research company Seed Planning Inc, the Japanese market for meat alternatives using vegetable protein is forecast to grow about 2.3 times in the coming decade to ¥78 billion (US$710 million) in 2030.
Next Meats, being aware of the existing market potential, plans to leverage its new expanded capacity and R&D center to develop products suitable for this market.
The startup has also revealed that it recently signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Nagaoka University of Technology to study epigenetics and its new applications in developing alternative meat products.
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