The Japanese brand gears up as Asia’s challenger brand to Impossible Foods
Soy-based meat alternative
Photo as seen on Daiz website

Daiz has raised six-figure funding in a Series A round led by A-Five — a Japanese state-backed fund — and tech venture capital firm Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. Tokyo-based Okasan Capital Partners, Japanese frozen food giant Nichirei Foods and the organic produce supplier Kajitsudo also participated in this round.

Totalling $6 million, Daiz said the new capital will be utilised to open one of the biggest vegan meat factories in the country. The site will produce a proprietary soy-based meat alternative that mimics the texture of real meat.

The proprietary technology is said to challenge that of Impossible Foods, which uses soy leghemoglobin, one of two genetically engineered ingredients in the recipe for the Impossible Burger.

“At Daiz, we would like to spread the developed plant-based meat material, not only to hamburgers and chicken nuggets, but also to other countries around the world as a delicious base material for various processed foods, such as gyoza, shumai, and spring rolls,” reads a statement on the company website.

The food-tech start-up has raised $11.2 million to date, including previous investments from Nishi-Nippon City Bank, QB Capital, Kagoshima Bank and food industry company Nichirei Foods.

The Ochiai process

Daiz proprietary technology, called Ochiai process, uses soybeans germinated to activate enzymes, thus increasing the number of free amino acids.

This process, Daiz claims, helps bring out the flavour and texture of the ingredient to mimic real meat without the need for synthetic additives.

Food-tech companies in Asia have been making headlines on the alternative protein front. IntegriCulture is on track to produce and commercialise lab-grown meat alternative by 2021.

Date published: 5 June 2020

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