Popular Japanese retail company Muji is diving full-force into the fake meat market with four new plant-based options: meatballs in sauce, minced meat, a burger, and sliced meat. Unlike most meat alternatives, Muji’s boast a long shelf life — no refrigeration required.
Each of Muji’s new products is made to be affordable and easy to use. The small packs come in at just 290 yen (about $2.75) per product. That’s a steal compared to popular options like those offered by Impossible or Beyond Meat. The products are available in Japan beginning today.
Muji says it has a few reasons for jumping into this venture. There’s climate change, for one thing; the company mentions that pivoting our diets away from meat consumption is a necessary step toward saving the environment. Muji also lists public health as a driver for the new products.
Thank you, Muji — Muji is best known in the United States for its stationery supplies (the company’s gel pens are a fan favorite) and home goods, so the expansion into meat alternatives might seem out of left field. In Japan, though, Muji stores carry plenty of food products. We’re talking everything from hot pot soup bases to flaky pastries to canned curries.
The expansion of its food products into the world of faux meat is still noteworthy for the company, especially because Muji is also going out of the way to tell users why moving away from meat consumption could be pivotal to solving the climate crisis. Muji mentions that meat demand is expected to nearly double by 2050 if we continue at our current rate — an almost unimaginable amount of meat.
A win-win product line — Moving into meat alternatives isn’t just good for the environment; it also has the potential to be very profitable for Muji. Unlike most industries, the plant-based meat market has really taken off in 2020, thanks to rising beef prices and general meat scarcity. Even Disney has taken notice.
Given the general hype around meat alternatives right now, Muji stands to profit greatly from its new line of products. And its customers will benefit from the inexpensive, protein-packed meals.
There is some bad news: the new alt-meat products are only available in Japanese Muji stores for the time being, and they’ve already sold out online. So it might be a while before Muji heads around the world get to celebrate with a cheap soy burger.