What is the appeal of fruit meat? -Why sustainable meat alternatives following soybean meat are gaining attention-

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Have you heard about “fruit meat,” which is expected to become a new plant-based meat (plant-based alternative meat) following soybean meat and others?

Its characteristics are that it is a sustainable food that contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving animal welfare. Let’s take a look at why fruit meat is an excellent meat substitute, the benefits of using fruit meat for restaurants, and some key points to keep in mind when using it.

What is Fruit Meat?

fruit meat

Fruit meat is an alternative meat made from jackfruit. It is low in calories with near zero carbohydrates or fat, and has more fiber than burdock root. It is a plant-based meat substitute that is rich in nutrients and gentle on the body.

The raw material, jackfruit, is also known as paramitsu, and is a type of fruit that is eaten daily in Southeast Asia. It is sometimes confused with durian, but they are different fruits.

Jackfruit is often eaten locally as an ingredient in curry. The largest jackfruit is 70 cm long and weighs 40 to 50 kg, earning it the nickname “the world’s largest fruit“.

Fruit Meat was developed by IraNoah, a company based in Singapore and Malaysia. Sustainable Food Asia, a company that processes food products from Southeast Asia, has partnered with IraNoah and is the only importer and distributor of fruit meat in Japan.

Why Fruit Meat is an Excellent Meat Alternative

fruit meat

Vegan rice bowl with jackfruit

While soybean meat and other plant-based meats are available, there is a reason why fruit meats are gaining attention. We would like to explain the advantages of fruit meat as a meat substitute.

Be sustainable

Compared to the production of animal meat, the environmental impact in the production of fruit meat, which is a plant, is small.

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production is equivalent to 7.1 Gt of CO2 per year, which is comparable to the emissions from cars and airplanes. Of this amount, 44% is methane gas emissions from fermentation in the digestive organs of cattle and other animals. Another 41% comes from the production of feed for livestock. If the use of plant-based meat becomes more widespread, the amount of livestock products can be reduced, leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

[Related Articles] What is Animal Welfare? Basic Knowledge Restaurants Need to Know

Texture and color close to real meat.

fruit meat

Patties made with jackfruit, also known as Qatarkababu in India

The fruit meat is moderately tender and has a better texture than other plant-based meat alternatives. It is sticky, close to real meat, and juicy. It can also be molded like a hamburger patty. This is because the cell shape of the raw material, jackfruit, is similar to that of beef.

Furthermore, when jackfruit is heat-treated, the fruitmeat has a color similar to that of lean animal meat, making it look like meat. Before cooking, fruitmeat has a natural reddish color and looks like tuna.

The ability to produce a meat-like red color without the addition of coloring is due to IraNoah’s technology. While most plant-based meat substitutes use multiple additives, the main ingredients in IraNoah’s fruit meat are extremely simple, including mushrooms and vegetable oil in addition to jackfruit. This processing technology was jointly developed and patented by the International Islamic University Malaysia and IraNoah.

No peculiar taste or smell

fruit meat

When fully ripe, jackfruit tastes like sweet melon and has a distinctive aroma. However, it is the unripe fruit that is used for the substitute meat, which has no peculiar flavor. Fruit meat has no sweetness; you would never know it was made from fruit. It has a slight acidity, but it is nearly tasteless. It has a faint fruity aroma, but it does not have the distinctive odor of other meat substitutes, which is also unique to fruit meat. For example, soybean meat, a well-known meat substitute, has a distinctive soybean smell.

Fruit meat, on the other hand, is made by heating unripe fruit to remove its odor. Since the taste and aroma do not interfere with the dish, it may be used in a variety of menus.

High preservability

Fruitmeat is made from unripe jackfruit. The developer, IraNoah, has enhanced the shelf life of fruitmeat by heating the fruit.

Considering its use in restaurants and inventory management, the fact that it does not get damaged quickly is directly related to its ease of handling as an ingredient.

Relatively easy to procure raw materials

Jackfruit, the raw material for fruit meat, grows very quickly, producing about 20 kg of fruit in three months. Therefore, procurement of jackfruit is relatively easy.

On the other hand, it cannot be denied that soybean meat, the leading alternative meat, may face competition for soybeans as a raw material as demand increases. Fruit meat, which can prevent a shortage in the supply of raw materials, is expected to penetrate the market as an alternative to soybean meat in the future.

Attractiveness and benefits for restaurants to offer menus with fruit meats.

fruit meat

Vegan curry with fruit meat

Fruit meats are not only an excellent meat substitute, but also bring benefits to restaurants that serve them. We would like to introduce the appeal of restaurants offering menu items made with fruit meats.

Can showcase your commitment to the SDGs

Since fruit meat is made from discarded jackfruit, its incorporation as an ingredient can contribute to the elimination of food loss.

Jackfruit is a fruit that grows in Southeast Asia, and most of it is discarded in equatorial areas due to oversupply. This is due to the fact that the fruit grows too fast for consumption to keep up with demand and that local processing techniques are not yet mature enough to keep the fruit in a preserved state.

Upcycling fruits that would otherwise be thrown away into alternative meat and offering it as a menu item would demonstrate the commitment to the SDGs to customers.

Can contribute to solving environmental problems

Greenhouse gases are emitted during the production and processing of food, a problem that contributes to global warming. Including production, processing, distribution, cooking, and disposal, greenhouse gas emissions from food account for 21-37% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

However, only plant-based foods emit less greenhouse gases during the production process than animal-based foods.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, the carbon footprint of the Japanese diet is 1,400 kgCO2e/person per year. Carbon footprint refers to the greenhouse gas emissions from raw material procurement to disposal converted to CO2.

Meat, grains, and dairy products have the highest carbon footprint, in that order, while vegetables and fruits have the lowest. Replacing animal meat with fruit meat can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the production process.

Reach out to health-conscious and vegan customers.

In recent years, the population of vegans and vegetarians, who do not eat animal products, has been expanding. The Japanese population is no exception, with an increasing number of people avoiding animal products.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, approximately 50% of people who traveled overseas answered that “they would not enter a restaurant unless it was vegetarian”. Even under such circumstances, the introduction of fruit meats and the preparation of vegan and vegetarian menus will attract new customers.

Fruitmeat is a healthy food that is low in sugar and fat and high in fiber. It can approach health-conscious people as well as vegans for religious reasons.

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What restaurants need to know about using fruit meats

fruit meat

Vegan tacos with fruit meat

Fruitmeat has many advantages, but there are also aspects of its use that require ingenuity and care. Let’s take a look at some of these points in advance.

A step is necessary to blend the flavors of seasonings.

One of the characteristics of fruit meat is its high water content. Therefore, in order for the flavors of the seasonings to blend, it is necessary to remove some of the water before cooking.

Other than that, however, it can be prepared in the same way as ground meat and is not too difficult to handle. It is nearly tasteless in nature, so it can be seasoned in any way you like.

Consideration should be given when serving vegan menu items.

If fruit meats are used and promoted as a vegan menu item, consideration should be given to separating the utensils from those used for meat and fish dishes.

Vegans and vegetarians do not like the unintentional contamination of animal products. One example is the contamination of meat juices by the use of griddles for grilling food.

According to a survey conducted by the Japan Tourism Agency, approximately 40% of respondents said that “they would not enter a restaurant unless they could be sure that there was no contamination of raw materials”. In light of this reality, we should not neglect to separate cooking utensils and other items. It is also a good idea to put icons or markers on the menu so that customers know that the food is vegan or vegetarian.

[Related Article] 5 Points Restaurants Should Know About Making Vegan Menu Items

Low distribution in Japan and unstable prices

The concern is that the amount of fruitmeat imported into Japan is small at this stage, making prices unstable. While jackfruit, the raw material, is in oversupply locally, it is inevitable that the cost will be reflected in the cost if there is little distribution in Japan as a processed product.

However, fruit meats are only just beginning to attract attention. If it becomes established in the future as an excellent alternative meat, it is estimated that it will be in the same price range as soybean meat and animal meat.

Case studies of restaurants using fruit meats

As of January 2024, it is very difficult to find restaurants in Japan that serve dishes made with fruit meat. “Susutenaomusubi” was one of the first to pay attention to this fruit meat and incorporate it into their menu.

Located by Toranomon Hills in Minato-ku, Tokyo, the restaurant sells omusubi topped with shigure-ni (ginger-simmered food in sweetened soy sauce) fruit meat. The gentle seasoning of the ginger flavor makes one realize that the fruit meat itself has no peculiar taste or smell. The texture is slightly crispier and less greasy than beef and other meats. Some customers come to the restaurant to “try the fruit meat”, as it has been introduced on a TV program.

Use fruit meats to create sustainable restaurants!

fruit meat

Vegan barbecue burger with fruit meat

Fruit meat is similar in texture and color to real meat and has no distinctive taste or odor. It is also highly nutritious and a very good meat substitute. In other countries, it is widely used as an ingredient in vegan and vegetarian menus.

Furthermore, the widespread use of fruit meats will lead to reduced consumption of livestock products, thus contributing to the achievement of SDGs goals such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving animal welfare.

Restaurants can meet the demand of customers who are highly conscious of the environment and health by offering menus that use fruit meat. Above all, it is a novel ingredient that few people in Japan know about yet. This is a new and sustainable food ingredient that can be used to connect with customers who are sensitive to food trends.

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[Reference Site] Sustainable Food Asia Co., Ltd.:”Organic Grill Kugenuma Kaigan” now offers a menu featuring “Fruit Meat”
[Reference Site] Kyodo News Group NNA: “Meat” from jackfruit tastes and feels just like meat
[Reference Site] Nikkei Inc.: New food EC startups utilize alternative meat derived from fruits, offering gapao, etc.
[Reference Site] Nikkei Cross Trend: Next to Soybean Meat, “Fruit Meat”? Five companies to watch in the food tech industry
[Reference Site] Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan Patent Office: JPO PR magazine “Tokkyo” issued on October 11, 2022
[Reference Site] Ministry of the Environment: Proposal for a sustainable and healthy diet
[Reference site] Tokyo University of Agriculture: Special collaboration project “vegan” menu Vol.2
[Reference site] Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Minutes of the Japanese Agricultural Standards Investigation Meeting (held on June 29, 2022)
[Reference Site] Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan Tourism Agency: Vegetarian and Vegan Guide for Restaurant Businesses, etc

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