Japanese Startup Secures $6 Million to Challenge Impossible Foods

Plant-based meat startup DAIZ will soon open one of the world's largest vegan meat factories in Japan — posing a challenge to Impossible Foods.
Chris Young

Japanese plant-based meat startup DAIZ recently announced $6 million (650 million yen) raised in a Series A funding round, according to a press release on the company's website.

The funding round consisted of investments from the Japanese fund Fisheries Growth Industrialization Support Organization (A-FIVE) and venture capital firm Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

Called DAIZ, the company makes "miracle chips", which are "raw" vegan meat components made using the Ochiai High Pressure Method.


The 'fourth meat'

The Ochiai High Pressure Method germinates soybeans to increase nutritional value and umami flavors before the plant-based meat is put in an extruder and molded to emulate the texture of meat.

DAIZ's mission is to make “eating plant meat as the fourth meat” (alongside beef, chicken, and pork) to help feed the world's growing population, reports VegNews.

The company plans to use the Series A funding to build one of the largest plant-based meat factories in Japan, with a further aim of ramping up domestic distribution — as of writing, it produces 3,000 tons of vegan meat every year at the factory. After mastering the domestic market, DAIZ plans for global expansion — going public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The last two years have seen the number of vegan restaurants more than double in Japan, VegNews reports. In March, popular Japanese chain Mos Burger added the vegan Green Burger to its menu at select locations.

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The plant-based meat revolution

This comes on the heels of a growing worldwide trend as consumers increasingly turn to plant-based substitutes for familiar meat dishes.

Last June, Burger King declared it would expand distribution of its meat-free Impossible Whopper made by the well-known plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, whose meats the FDA recently approved for sale in grocery stores. The company also unveiled its pig-free pork at last year's CES.

Moreover, KFC recently announced it was testing Beyond Meat's plant-based chicken. In turn, Beyond Meat also announced fake bacon was coming to its menu. These two companies are looking to consolidate their place in the startup ecosystem against contenders like DAIZ.

This is significant because we can massively reduce the world's dependence on livestock. So strap in, because the plant-based meat revolution is on its way.