An increasing number of people in Japan have been eating plant-based meat in the past few years, a trend set to rise further in the face of changing dietary habits and an aging population.

Market experts say the combination of an anticipated surge in international visitors, rising demand for healthier food options amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s drive for net-zero carbon emissions has created ideal conditions for growth in this burgeoning market.

So dramatic have been the recent changes in Japan’s plant-based meat industry that Yuya Makino, marketing director of producer Next Meats, described 2020 as “year one” for the Japanese industry in an interview with, despite the decades-long sale of items such as tofu burgers and soy meat crumbles in Japanese supermarkets.