Yoshikazu Azuma, CEO of Tokyo’s 2foods, is soon to expand Japan’s number one, 100% plant-based fast-casual and CPG brand to the US, bringing its award-winning products including ramen, Japanese curry, gateau, cheesecakes, and doughnuts, to American consumers through newly established arm 2foods US.
“We believe that plant-based food has enormous potential in Japan,” says the serial entrepreneur.
The ongoing evolution of plant-based in Japan
By Yoshikazu Azuma
The plant-based food industry has been growing at an unprecedented pace in recent years, with Europe and the United States leading the way. However, Japan is still in its early stages of development in the plant-based market, and there is much potential for growth and expansion.
Despite an increase in the number of restaurants serving plant-based foods and new businesses entering the market, the industry in Japan still lags behind that of Europe and the United States. One significant example is the way supermarkets and grocery stores retail plant-based products. In the West, plant-based options are typically found alongside animal-based protein foods. In Japan, they are often relegated to a separate area, making them less visible and accessible to consumers.
Another notable factor is that Japanese cuisine is already considered quite healthy, so marketing plant-based foods purely as a healthier alternative is not sufficient to drive consumer demand.
Attitudes are changing
Data shows that Japanese consumers are not yet as ethically conscious as their Western counterparts, making it challenging to promote plant-based options based on their sustainability credentials alone. However, attitudes are changing, and consumers are becoming more mindful of their impact on the environment.
At 2foods, we’re leading the way in Japan’s plant-based food industry with our fast-casual restaurants and retail locations offering 100% plant-based products that taste as good as traditional junk food like our yummy Ever Chicken Nuggets. We’ve partnered with Kagome, Japan’s top fruit and vegetable products manufacturer and distributor, to create a new plant-based egg substitute called Ever Egg.
“attitudes are changing, and consumers are becoming more mindful of their impact on the environment”
2foods has quickly expanded to operate five fast-casual/retail locations in Tokyo in less than 3 years, with plans to open a sixth location later this year as well as franchises throughout Japan. Our unique marketing approach includes social media, music, and sustainable fashion to make plant-based foods part of consumers’ lifestyles, emphasizing their deliciousness and cultural value rather than just sustainability.
As we continue to grow and expand, we are committed to upholding our values of sustainability and social responsibility while being a leader in the industry in Japan to drive change. We are proud to be pursuing B Corp certification, a distinction held by only 19 companies in Japan, and to promote an equal and comfortable working environment for women and LGBTQ team members.
We believe that plant-based food has enormous potential in Japan, and we look forward to continuing to lead the way in creating delicious, sustainable, and culturally valuable products.