Environmentally friendly and healthy plant-based meat products are attracting attention in Japan as new production methods harnessing artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies enable consumers to enjoy tastes similar to conventional meat.

Plant-based meat is made from ingredients such as soybeans, wheat and peas. As livestock breeding requires huge amounts of water and land, shifting to meat alternatives is expected to help conserve the environment.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also raised awareness of meat alternatives as cluster infections among workers at U.S. meat processing plants have triggered supply shortages of beef and pork. "The epidemic is further accelerating the evolution of food," said an official of a Japanese consulting firm.