Solutions to Food Insecurity
Relevance to our business
Since its early days, the Fuji Oil Group has aimed to provide solutions to food scarcity, a problem caused and exacerbated by population growth, through plant-based food ingredients. For more than 60 years since 1957, we have explored the possibilities of soy protein with the belief that plant-based protein can compensate for a shortage of animal protein sources.
With the world population expected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050, we believe this mission is a critical one. By providing food ingredients that use plant-based protein, we hope to contribute to food security.
There is a growing sense of crisis in the global community toward food insecurity and environmental problems. In the past, plant-based protein ingredients were used merely as substitutes for animal protein sources. Instead, under the slogan, “Providing the deliciousness of plant-based food ingredients while solving social problems,” we aim at establishing a new category of plant-based foods in the market, thereby contributing to solving social issues.
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) oversees initiatives in this area. The ESG Committee,*1 an advisory body to the board of directors, has been monitoring the progress and results of initiatives as a material ESG issue.*2 The ESG Committee reports insights to the board of directors for review.
*1 Follow the link below to learn more about the ESG Committee.
*2 Follow the link below to learn more about material ESG issues.
Goals / Results
At least 90% complete At least 60% complete Less than 60% complete
|FY2020 Goals||FY2020 Results||Self-assessment|
|Commercialize meat alternative products*1 made of plant-based food ingredients||Commercialize and market meat alternatives and ingredients using core technologies for improving flavor and satisfaction|
|Commercialize plant-based ingredients using core technologies for improving flavor and satisfaction|
|Expand lineup of plant-based cheese alternatives||Market a variety of plant-based cheese alternatives (e.g. Soy Delice SHRED*2)|
*1 Plant-based products made to look and taste like conventional processed meat products, such as patties and nuggets
*2 See the section “Expanding our lineup of animal protein alternatives through R&D” below.
Growing awareness of health and the environment has increased consumer interest in plant-based foods. This has led to a rise in demand for meat alternatives and ingredients using core technologies for improving flavor and satisfaction.
Creating an enjoyable experience with food, rather than simply offering plant-based protein as a meat alternative, is a key aspect of addressing the challenges of food insecurity. To address this issue, we set the following goals for FY2021.
- Develop delicious soy meat ingredients and products that look and taste like real meat
- Develop plant-based milk
Expanding our lineup of animal protein alternatives through R&D
The Fuji Oil Group strives to develop animal protein alternatives that bring out the flavor of plant-based ingredients to help solve food insecurity and global environmental challenges. These alternatives harness the soy protein development technologies we have cultivated over many years.
In FY2020, we developed Soy Delice SHRED, a cheese made by fermenting soy milk, as a new product that utilizes the Group’s Ultra Soy Separation (USS) technology.* In developing Soy Delice SHRED, we paid special attention to the fermentation process, creating a smooth, rich soy cheese that is finely shredded. Carefully selected lactic acid bacteria and proprietary fermentation technology lend the cheese a deep umami richness. Being shredded makes it versatile; it can be used on a range of dishes from pizza to gratin.
* A technology for separating soy milk into soy cream and low-fat milk, similar to methods of separating raw dairy milk. In 2012, we acquired a patent for USS as the world’s first soy separation and fractionation technology.
Soy Delice SHRED
Proposing new values to consumers
Mainstreaming of the SDGs has spurred a growing interest in plant-based food. To bring popular plant-based dishes to consumers, in 2019 we opened a pop-up restaurant at Daimaru Shinsaibashi Main Building in Osaka, Japan, named “UPGRADE Plant based kitchen” (it closed on March 14, 2021). We then held pop-up events based at a store in Yurakucho, Tokyo, in 2020. At both locations, customers got to experience our menu, and we got to survey customers and analyze their purchasing data to help us popularize plant-based food going forward.
We plan to use the data obtained through UPGRADE to develop and promote new products. In FY2021, we will continue our UPGRADE operations in various forms albeit at irregular intervals, including using a food truck to deliver the food to more convenient locations even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fuji Oil Group has earned recognition for proactively gathering input and promoting ethical consumption among consumers, despite being a B-to-B business. In FY2020, we received an award from the Commissioner of the Consumer Affairs Agency for setting a good example of a consumer-oriented business. We also won the Legend Award in the 2020 Sustainability Awards organized by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
UPGRADE Plant based kitchen at the Daimaru Shinsaibashi Main Building in Osaka
Partnering with other companies on sustainable food
Unlike in other countries, the concept of plant-based food is not well known in Japan. Options are limited, awareness of the social issues behind plant-based food is weak, and there is little consumer action focused on solutions. To address this, in March 2021 the Fuji Oil Group helped to launch Plant Based Lifestyle Lab (P-LAB).*
Organized by 15 companies from a range of business domains (lead organizers: Fuji Oil Holdings Inc., Kagome Co., Ltd., and Pasona Group Inc.), P-LAB will partner with government, academia, and civil society to promote fun, healthy, delicious lifestyles where plant-based food is the norm, with the health of people, the environment and sustainable development as overarching goals.
Through P-LAB, the Fuji Oil Group plans to carry out R&D projects with other member companies for creating plant-based food products and menus, raise awareness of sustainability and plant-based food in partnership with universities and government agencies, and co-create value by integrating plant-based food into other fields such as agriculture, health, beauty, tourism, and education.
Through P-LAB activities, the Fuji Oil Group will help to create culinary lifestyles that are healthy, filled with joy, in harmony with the planet, and that contribute to the development of sustainable food systems.
* Follow the link below to learn more about P-LAB.
Developing a soy business to improve nutrition and increase women farmers’ income in Burkina Faso
Fuji Oil Ghana Ltd., a Fuji Oil Group company in Ghana, imports most of the shea kernels it uses from the neighboring Burkina Faso. Many of the women who harvest shea kernels in the region are also engaged in soybean production.
Since 2019, the Fuji Oil Group has been conducting a business feasibility study on the procurement of soybeans and the development, manufacture and sale of soy meat in Burkina Faso. The aim is to improve the nutrition of local consumers and increase local farmers’ income. This study was selected as a 2018 Survey on Businesses to Address Developing Country Issues (SDG Business)* by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Within the JICA framework, the contribution of this project to achieving specific SDG targets was also examined.
In FY2020, we studied distribution structures in the region, including neighboring Côte d’Ivoire, and conducted market research, including school lunches. We also began prototyping soy meat products made from Burkina Faso soybeans. Going forward, we plan to conduct more research at every stage in the value chain so we can contribute to a rich dietary lifestyle in the region using the Group’s protein technologies.
* JICA provides financial assistance of up to 50 million yen per proposal for a maximum of three years for Japanese companies planning to start a business that will contribute to the attainment of the SDGs in developing countries.
Local-style meal using soy meat