Next Meats U.S.A., a subsidiary of the new plant-based meats company Next Meats Co. of Tokyo, is debuting in Southern California this week.
Founded in 2017 by entrepreneurs Ryo Shirai and Hideyuki Sasaki to help the world to eat healthier and lessen traditional agriculture’s impact on the environment, Next Meats premiered its products, which include the world’s first plant-based short rib and skirt steak, in Japan in 2020 after years of research and development.
Japanese specialty market Tokyo Central is the first grocer in California to offer three Next Meats products – Next Short Rib, Next Skirt Steak and Next Beef Bowl – at six locations in Southern California and the Bay Area, joining retailers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Restaurant chefs are also discovering the versatility of Next Meats, which has already debuted at Michelin star Chef Josef Centeno’s Tex-Mex Bar Ama in Los Angeles, Ramen Shack in San Juan Capistrano and J-Spec in New York City, specializing in Japanese A5 wagyu.
For the U.S. launch, Next Meats hosted a virtual panel during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and partnered with a number of chefs including Jumoke Jackson (Food Network, ABC, CBS), Food Network Chopped Champion Airis Johnson, Chef Chris Posner of The Seasoned Carte and Keizo Shimamoto, the creator of the ramen burger.
Made with non-GMO soy, the company says that its skirt steak, short rib and beef bowl have been winning over chefs, flexitarians and vegans with their taste and texture. It has also captured the attention of people who have not considered plant-based products before.
Next Meats are high in protein and lower in saturated fat than animal meats. They are also free of cholesterol, bleached white sugars and palm oil, with the skirt steak and short rib 100 percent additive-free.
Next Meats’ flavors are achieved by natural seasonings that include soy sauce, garlic, salt, sesame oil and bean paste. Unlike other plant-based meats that typically come ground or crumbled, Next Meats’ steak and short rib are sliced, which makes them great for grilling, in addition to sautéing and stir-frying.
“It’s an exciting time for Next Meats to enter the U.S. and Canadian markets, as a fast-growing number of consumers are adopting flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets for reasons ranging from proven health benefits to reducing the impact on our shared planet. Next Meats’ healthy, plant-based products are a delicious addition to any diet, and we are thrilled to begin this journey with our partners at Tokyo Central,” said Koki Terui, CEO of Next Meats USA.
Marukai and Tokyo Central grocery stores specialize in Japanese products imported from Japan, including produce, fish, meats, prepared fresh and packaged foods, as well as Japanese home goods. Original Sushi and Japanese Bentos are some of the most popular items at all stores.
As of January, there are nine (Marukai and Tokyo Central) stores throughout Southern California and one in Cupertino.
“With the expansion of Next Meats into the U.S., it is a great opportunity for us to offer Japanese plant-based meats in our stores, and we look forward to offering them in all of our stores in anticipation of their future market value,” said Koichi Toyo, president of the Marukai Corp.
For more information, visit nextmeats.us.