Tokyo-based Next Meats Co. announced today their plan to start construction of their alternative protein “NEXT Factory” in Niigata, Japan. The new, large-scale facility will be dedicated to the development of alternative proteins, feature both and R&D lab as well as a production line, and is scheduled to be completed next summer.
Next Meats makes plant-based meat analogues such as its Yakiniku Short Rib and NEXT Gyudon vegan traditional Japanese beef bowl. More recently, the company announced a newly developed plant-based egg product dubbed NEXT EGG 1.0, which is initially being offered as a B2B ingredient.
In addition to developing its own products, the NEXT Factory will also co-produce a new product with Kameda Saika, a prominent snack manufacturer in Japan, and Next Meats has also signed a research and development agreement with Nagaoka University of Technology to look into epigenetic applications in creating new alternative meat products.
This announcement marks the latest production facility to open up from an alternative protein company, signaling a continued maturation of the space. Companies across the alt protein space have started work on or opened such production factories including cultured meat company Future Meat, mycoprotein company Better Meat, and protein-from-air company Air Protein.
Obviously, a key benefit of having mass production facilities is that they can produce more alternative protein products at scale, thereby reducing their costs and making them more available to consumers around the world.
Fittingly, in addition to producing plant-based meat, Next Meat’s new factory will also be eco-friendly using DX cooling systems, solar panels and locally-sourced building materials. And in a nice touch, the facility is being built in the hometown of Next Meats co-founder Ryo Shirai, who said he wanted to give back to his community.