This month, Japanese plant-based startup DAIZ announced that it raised 650 million yen ($6 million) in a Series A funding round with investments from Japanese fund Fisheries Growth Industrialization Support Organization (A-FIVE) and venture capital firm Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. DAIZ creates “raw” vegan meat components—which it calls “miracle chips”—using the Ochiai High Pressure Method, which involves germinating soybeans to increase umami flavors and nutritional value before putting them in an extruder and applying molding technologies to recreate the texture of meat.
DAIZ’s mission is to make “eating plant meat as the fourth meat” (alongside beef, chicken, and pork) in an effort to feed the growing world population. The company plans to use the funding to build one of the largest plant-based meat factories in Japan with the goal of producing 3,000 tons of vegan meat annually. The company will first focus on domestic distribution through manufacturing and retail partners before expanding globally. It also aims to go public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In the last two years, the number of vegan restaurants in Japan has increased from 400 to approximately 1,000. In March, Japan’s popular domestic chain Mos Burger added the vegan Green Burger—made with a soy- and konjac-based patty—to select locations in Tokyo and Kanagawa, with plans to expand to more outlets should the option prove successful.