Vegan Japanese BBQ Meat Is Now a Thing
Next Meats Co. is producing vegan meat for Japanese BBQ. | Prastika Herlianti/Unsplash

Next Meats Co. is launching a line of vegan meat for Japanese BBQ, or “yakiniku.”

This style of grilled meat is extremely popular in Japan, and typically centers on the cooking of bite-sized pieces of protein on griddles and gridirons. Common yakiniku ingredients include various meats, offal, and occasionally vegetables.

Following the success of its Next Burger series—currently in its third iteration with version 1.2—Next Meats has launched its new line of Yakiniku products. The soy-protein-based Next Yakiniku series contains half the fat and twice the protein content of its typical meat-based equivalent.

After extensive research and development, the brand produced two variations on the Japanese BBQ meat—kalbi and harami. According to the company, Kalbi 1.0 is “chewy and fragrant. While Harami 1.0, is soft and juicy with a “satisfying” taste.

“In the future, the age of plant-based meat will evolve and it will be placed as a regular menu at yakiniku restaurants,” says Next Meats. “Next Yakiniku, which is both environmentally friendly and healthy, looks and feels exactly like meat and is delicious and easy to eat by simply grilling lightly.”

Vegan Meat and Climate Change

Next Meats focuses on plant-based meats in order to reduce the consumption of animal protein. Meat production is widely recognized as a leading contributor to global warming and the climate crisis. Ditching meat for just one year could save the equivalent C02 of flying 4000 miles.

Recent data, including 2019’s IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, consistently emphasizes the importance of a vegan diet in mitigating climate change. Local and national governments including Canada, Germany, France, India, and New Zealand, all promoted plant-forward diets in 2019.

In the UK, approximately 41 percent of Brits are ditching meat to help fight climate change. In addition to the 41 percent already reducing their consumption of animal products, research indicates that a further 13 percent plan to do so within the next year.

Frequently, consumers also see plant-based and vegan protein as a healthier option. Many comparable studies found that personal health—and a growing awareness of the health risks associated with meat consumption—is driving market changes.

Next Meats Co. is currently selling its range of Yakiniku BBQ products online. Next Yakiniku Kalbi 1.0 is 1,880 yen, while the Yakiniku Harami 1.0 is 1,780 yen. Each includes five frozen pieces.