20% of all Starbucks stores in Japan to be powered by renewable energy

JAPAN – Starbucks Japan has announced plans to transition all 350 free-standing company-operated stores to 100% renewable energy by the end of October 2021. The transition of the stores which account for approximately 20% of the company’s  portfolio are part of  Starbucks global commitment to decrease carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, the company said in a statement. Starbucks says thatas of April 2021, the transition has been completed in 301 stores, and will extend to 350 locations including stores in Hokkaido, Tohoku and Okinawa by the end of October.…

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Sofina Foods, Agrana make new acquisitions to expand capacity, market share

US/JAPAN – Canadian manufacturer of primary and further-processed protein products, Sofina Foods has agreed to acquire seafood and pork provider Eight Fifty Food Group from funds managed by private equity firm CapVest Partners. Founded in 2019 following the acquisition of Young’s Seafood by CapVest-owned Karro Food Group, Eighty Fifty has grown into an international multi-protein food group, employing 8,300 people across 23 manufacturing sites.  Its acquisition is expected to complement Sofina Foods’ North American platform, with Eight Fifty CEO Di Walker continuing to lead the business under the new ownership.…

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Amano introduces savory animal-free enzyme as “climate conscious” Pizza enters the Australian Market

JAPAN/AUSTRALIA – Japanese food ingredients giant Amano Enzyme has released its latest animal-free enzyme solution for use in the plant protein industry. The company says that the enzyme dubbed Umamizyme Pulse is designed to use in a wide variety of plant protein products to produce a savory, umami flavor, similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG). Additionally, Amano notes the new ingredient also imparts kokumi “a sensation of richness and complexity” when used in foods.  “As consumer interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow, our customers are striving to develop more plant-based…

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Next Meats launches accelerator program to initiate collaboration in the alternative protein industry

JAPAN – Japanese alternative meat company Next Meats has launched an accelerator program to serves as a platform to conduct worldwide open innovation among the players in the alternative protein industry. Dubbed the “Next Meat Accelerator Program” the new initiative hopes to bring together experts, companies, and climate change-conscious individuals to cultivate worldwide business opportunities that benefit the planet and everyone involved. Next Meats believes that the fight against climate change can be much more effective and swift if skilled, passionate entities came together and combined their technologies, expertise, network,…

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Japanese beverage giant Kirin supports healthy aging with new memory-supporting ingredient

JAPAN – Kirin Holdings has introduced a new functional ingredient to support “support the maintenance of memory, which declines with age.” Called Beta-Lactolin, the new ingredient reportedly targets those who are healthy but have started to become forgetful or slower in making decisions due to the natural aging process. To ensure market success, Kirin is partnering with a number of local food companies to launch the product in various forms including a beverage, yogurt, and supplements. New products to be released throughout Japan include beta-lactolin by Kyowa Hakko Bio on…

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Japan’s Yoshinoya to set up a US$2.7 million joint venture in the Philippines with local giant Jollibee Foods

PHILIPINES – Japanese multinational fast food restaurant Yoshinoya has announced plans to set up a US$2.7 million joint venture in the Philippines with local giant Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). According to a report by Nikkei Asia, the joint venture will see the two companies team up to open 50 branches of the famed Japanese beef bowl restaurant in the Philippines. The joint venture which will become the franchisee of Yoshinoya comes after the company’s 20-year partnership with Century Pacific group ended recently. “Jollibee will certainly have a significant positive impact…

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Scientists in Asia create high yielding rice that sequesters more C02 from air

ASIA – Scientists from Asia have succeeded in created a new paddy-field grown that achieves higher yields while sequestering more CO2 and using less fertilizer than traditional varieties. The new rice variety developed by researchers from Nagoya University in Japan and Nanjing Agricultural University in China is reported to achieve 30% more yield than other varieties grown under the same environment. The researchers achieved this functionality by increasing the expression of the plasma membrane proton pump gene OSA1 in the rice plant, which was previously found to influence stomatal opening.…

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Kirin terminates partnership with Myanmar brewery partly owned by military over coup

MYANMAR – Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings has announced its termination of a brewing partnership with Myanmar’s military after its generals overthrew the elected government in February, this year. Kirin owns a controlling stake in both Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery in partnership with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL), a company controlled by the country’s military and that a UN investigation has found is overseen by coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Kirin operations in Myanmar included the production of beer brands such as Kirin Lager – one of…

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Suntory Group to revitalize beer portfolio to tame dwindling consumer demand

JAPAN – The Suntory Group, a global leader in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages industry, has announced plans to create new drinking demand and revitalize the overall beer market in an effort to tame dwindling consumption of alcoholic beverages in Japan. This was revealed in the company’s business strategy for 2021 that was shared with our Food Business Africa editorial team. In the strategic plan for 2021, Suntory noted that the overall beer market in Japan and the beer market excluding non-alcoholic beer-taste beverages are both expected to shrink…

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Mitsubishi Food Group partners Israeli startup Aleph Farms to introduce cultivated meat in Japan

JAPAN – Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group is partnering with Israel-based start-up Aleph Farms to bring cultivated meat to Japan in an effort to help the country meet climate change and food security goals. The two companies have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see them work together with the aim of selling cultivated meat in the Asian country. As part of the deal, Aleph Farms will use its manufacturing platform BioFarm for the cultivation of whole-muscle steaks.  Mitsubishi, on its part, will provide its expertise in…

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