Plant-based diets are on the rise in Japan

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  2nd December 2022

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As veganism gains momentum around the globe, Japan is set to be the next country to experience a boom in plant-based eating

Veganism is on the rise in Japan as alternative foods are becoming increasingly available, according to an article published by the Japan Times.

The piece noted that a growing number of eateries are provided animal-free alternatives to many traditional dishes.

There are a number of reasons for the growing availability of vegan options across Japan, including Tokyo being selected to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

With the selection announcement being made in 2013, vegan meals started to emerge in ‘anticipation of visitors from abroad with various dietary practices’, the piece states.

Now, according to the Japan Vegan Society, ‘there isn’t a food that can’t be reproduced’.

Model and actress Mayumi Muroya, who heads the Society, says an enormous number of the country’s restaurants offer plant-based menus, saying she has visited some 3,500 such eateries.

She told the outlet: “Vegan meals are good for your health and the environment. I recommend people have fun and try them.”

Vegan alternatives in Japan

The article comes as market research reports predict significant growth in the meat alternative market in the country.

According to GlobalData, meat substitutes are set to ‘go mainstream in Japan’, with sales predicted to rise by five per cent compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2026.

The report says that the high consumption of seafood in the country was previously a barrier to the growth of the meat alternative sector.

However, it notes, the ‘onset of COVID-19 has turned the tide, with more health-conscious and experimental youth making vegan meat a part of their diets’.

Vegan meat

Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, said: “The availability of meatless meat options in retail stores during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated consumer awareness and first-time purchases.

“The long shelf-life of meat substitutes attracted Japanese shoppers as they stocked their pantries to avoid frequent trips to grocery stores.

“The market gained momentum as more brands entered the fray and rolled out diverse product types, customized for Japanese palates.

“As the COVID-19 regulations were eased, and food service venues reopened in 2021, leading operators cashed in on the vegan trend, launching animal-free meat dishes, thereby popularizing meat substitutes.”

Whip up your own meat substitutes with our 21 vegan seitan recipes

Featured Image: Johnny Greig via Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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