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Japanese consumers are attracted to the health benefits of plant-based products, which have been soaring up especially after Covid-19. They are fascinated by the low calorie, diet-friendly and nutrient content of plant-based snacks. 

Launch of plant-based products is active in various categories in Japan

The global plant-based trend has been also emerging in Japan, with major meat companies entering meat substitute products one after another and major beverage companies launching plant-based drinks as well. As a result, plant-based products have been seen in various categories such as prepared meals, instant noodles, cereals, chilled desserts, and ice cream.

According to Mintel research, 57% of Japanese consumers are interested in trying plant-based yogurt, 50% of Japanese consumers are eating more vegetables and fruits while more than 50% of Japanese consumers are interested in trying plant-based meats. 

Japanese consumers are attracted to the health benefits of plant-based foods rather than the fact that plant-based foods are good for animal welfare and preserving the environment.

Brands can take advantage of the healthy impression in plant-based foods to appeal to their products. For instance, plant-based snacks can appeal to consumers with features that are low in calories, good for weight management, or help supplement fiber, vegetables, vitamins and minerals.

Interest in protein has been increasing in Japan over the last few years, about one in four Japanese* choose high protein content as one of the most important factors when shopping for food. Actually, the protein-enhancing foods and drinks product launches have been gradually increased, the recommended and target amounts of protein were partially added in the dietary reference intakes for Japanese revised in 2020. This rise of protein trend has been seen in the snack category as well. By riding on this trend and consumer interest, plant-based snacks have the opportunity to appeal to plant-based proteins.

Leverage interest in plant-based foods, consider various plant-based ingredients

Soy protein is a popular ingredient in snacks with high/added protein. However, other ingredients are also used for snacks such as pea protein and rice protein. The growing interest in plant-based proteins in Japan can give opportunities to use various plant-based proteins.

The concept of plant-based food and drink is trending in Japan right now. Snack brands could leverage consumers’ interest in various health benefits related to plant-based concepts and offer them plant-based snacks of various tastes and formats.

Base: 2,000 internet users aged 18+

Source: Rakuten Insight/Mintel