Alternative meat ; mushrooms from YUKIGUNI MAITAKE Co.,Ltd.

YUKIGUNI MAITAKE has successfully developed alternative meat using mushrooms such as Maitake, introducing a new competitor to the alternative meat market. Mushroom-based alternative meat is touted to be lower in fat, rich in dietary fiber, and environmentally less impactful in production compared to soy, which is currently the mainstream ingredient for alternative meat.

According to Nikkei JM’s taste evaluation, the flavor and texture of the mushroom-derived alternative meat closely resemble real meat, without the distinctive mushroom flavor. Unlike soy, where the unique soy flavor might linger, this mushroom-based alternative meat reportedly lacks any mushroom-like taste, making it surprising that it is made from mushrooms. Although the detailed production process is kept as a trade secret, it involves combining multiple types of mushrooms and seasonings, along with a unique shaping method to achieve a meat-like quality.

YUKIGUNI MAITAKE is the first major manufacturer in Japan to sell alternative meat derived from mushrooms, making this initiative globally unique. Mushrooms not only offer lower carbohydrate and fat content compared to meat and soy but are also rich in dietary fiber and protein, with potential health benefits such as immune system regulation and disease prevention. The production of mushroom-based alternative meat also has a lower environmental impact, with YUKIGUNI MAITAKE using by-products from thinning wood and underground water from Minamiuonuma as raw materials.

Despite the rapid expansion of soy-based alternative meat until 2022, recent trends show a decline in sales, partly attributed to increased meat prices and a perceived higher cost compared to traditional meat. Within this context, YUKIGUNI MAITAKE’s innovative product has the potential to rejuvenate the market. According to research by Intage, soy meat sales decreased by 24% from ¥42 billion in 2022 to ¥32 billion in 2023. The introduction of YUKIGUNI MAITAKE’s new mushroom-based alternative meat could be a game-changer in the industry.

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