Japanese food tech Next Meats has just expanded its alternative protein range with a new egg substitute. Called Next Egg 1.0, the 100% vegan egg alternative will soon be landing in Japan through B2B channels. Next Meats will then launch its plant-based egg for retail and across its international markets.
Next Meats’ new plant-based egg will be made from only vegan ingredients. The Tokyo-based startup did not specify the ingredients used, but its existing products have been made with soy protein. Next Egg will be initially released in Japan through B2B channels, before entering retail and other countries.
Meeting plant-based demand in Japan
According to the food tech, the decision to expand its range with a vegan egg alternative comes as demand for plant-based foods reaches new heights. The startup says its Next Egg is designed to meet the “needs of the vegan population and people with egg allergies in Japan” who have so far had “almost no commercial vegan egg options to choose from.
There are international players in the alternative egg space, but the list is admittedly small. The most famous is San Francisco’s Eat Just, the makers of the mung bean-based JUST Egg.
For Next Meats, it’s a huge white space for the Japanese food industry because the country stands as the world’s second biggest egg consumer after Mexico.
Read: 5 signs vegan food is having a big moment in Japan right now
Raising awareness about factory farming
Commenting on the release of the Next Egg, Next Meats CEO Ryo Shirai says that the company hopes to “raise awareness of the issues that surround egg production.”
Globally, more than 300 million chickens are cramped inside small cages in factory farms, according to PETA. Hens are forced to experience light manipulation in their cages, which induces extra-laying cycles for companies to maximise egg output. After two years, hens are “spent” and sent to slaughter.
Beyond ethical issues, the egg industry is also a part of driving the enormous greenhouse gas emissions of the animal agriculture industry.
“[We] hope to lessen the industry’s carbon footprint by offering our new sustainable substitute,” Shirai is quoted as saying in a press statement.
Read: Diners can now try vegan Next Meats Gyudon beef curry in Japan’s IKEA stores
Developing alternatives for all animal products
Ultimately, Next Meats says that they have ambitions to develop vegan alternatives for all animal-based products. The company first made its name by developing Japanese yakiniku-style vegan beef, and has also launched chicken alternatives.
“We plan to research various types of alternative proteins in the future and aim to replace all animal meats by 2050,” said the company.
The firm also plans to expand its global footprint. So far, it is available in over 9 countries around the world. It most recently entered the U.S. market where it sold out within day one of its launch.
Lead image courtesy of Next Meats.