U.S.-based fans of Muji largely know the brand as a home goods store. But in other countries, including Muji’s home base of Japan, consumers can also purchase a variety of food and beverage items, making the brand more akin to IKEA than just another housewares store. Add plant-based protein to that list of edible goods one can purchase, as the company just released four soy-based dishes meant to take the place of regular ol’ meat.
The products are available right now to Muji customers in Japan via both the company’s brick-and-mortar stores and its website. Dishes include plant-based versions of a burger, minced meat, meatballs, and a thinly sliced meat. All products come ready to serve and are shelf stable, so they can be stored at room temperature and need no additional hydration. They cost roughly $2.75 USD per pack.
Muji hasn’t yet said if there will be an international expansion. Though given the company’s geographical reach at this point — the brand is in 35 countries — an overseas expansion would not come as a surprise.
International expansion also makes sense given the sheer demand right now for plant-based proteins. Global demand for plant-based protein options is on the rise, and some estimates expect the market to be worth $17.9 billion by 2025.
That growth is happening around the globe. In Asia, Omnipork parent Green Monday just raised $70 million, and both Just Eat and Impossible — major alt-protein players in the U.S. — are opening production facilities in that region. Both Impossible and Beyond also released direct-to-consumer e-commerce ventures this year. Further south, Chile-based NotCo just expanded to the U.S., while over in Australia, V2food just raised $55 million. Those developments are a sampling of all the recent activity, which shows no signs of slowing down.
Muji’s news is another example of plant-based protein’s reach not just geographically but also in terms of the types of settings in which consumers can now purchase these goods. Not so long ago, plant-based proteins were largely the territory of QSRs. Now they’ve infiltrated every type of restaurant, along with grocery stores, wholesale retailers, and chains like Muji that sell much more than food items.