Veganism and flexitarianism are on the rise in Japan. According to an article by VegNews, there are currently 1,000 vegan restaurants in Japan, compared to just 400 two years ago. To address this increase in plant-forward eating in Japan, TWO inc. officially opened the first three locations of its “healthy junk food” cafe concept 2foods.
2foods is a cafe spin-off of TWO inc.’s FoodTech Park, an experimental store where consumers can experience food tech products from all over the world. (The company described it as a food-tech version of b8ta.) Currently, FoodTech Park is hosting exhibitions from companies like OmniMeat, Next Meat, and MAAHA Chocolate. It is located right next to the 2foods flagship cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo.
The café aims to merge the two worlds of familiar and comforting junk food with better-for-you plant-based ingredients. So far, its menu includes items like plant-based chicken sandwiches, sandwiches with a donut bun, ramen, curry, chocolate brownies, a variety of beverages, and donuts. All of the items are fully vegan, and some of the ingredients have a food tech twist.
For example, the vegan chocolate brownie is made from a base of brown rice flour. However, the rice is processed in a manner that the particles are broken down at a low temperature to be extra fine and retain nutrients. This allows the flour to absorb water and hold together the ingredients like eggs would, resulting in a fluffy, moist brownie with no animal-based ingredients. The same technique is used with brown rice flour to create the cafe’s gluten-free noodles.
The 2foods cafes will co-develop menu items with emerging food tech start-ups, which can also test new products and prototypes at the cafe locations. OmniMeat (previously OmniPork) and 2foods will soon be collaborating to launch an exclusive food product. Additionally, 2foods will partner with food tech start-ups to help commercialize their new products globally and distribute them to its physical stores, online store, and to other retailers at a wholesale price.
The 2foods online store and the concept’s first three physical locations are now open in different areas of Tokyo, Japan. The company plans to launch 100-150 worldwide within the next three years.