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Business trends

Japan's plant-based meat industry beefs up its menu

Nippon Ham and Itoham Foods see growth in synthetics as consumers focus on health

A pop-up shop operated by Itoham Foods group sells lunchboxes in Tokyo featuring plant-based meat. (Photo by Ken Furusawa)

TOKYO -- Plant-based meat is finally starting to catch on in Japan, with rising numbers of health-conscious consumers spurring food manufacturers to offer more and tastier selections.

The trend -- largely imported from the West -- initially attracted non-meat food processors. Since then, established meat companies such as NH Foods -- Japan's biggest meat company and known as Nippon Ham -- and Itoham Foods have entered the market, driven by the fear of being left behind.

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