Japanese Government Expresses Commitment to Fostering Industry to Promote Cultured Meat

Many countries in the world are in serious food crises due to hunger and poverty, and international measures are needed to achieve the first goal of the SDGs, “End Poverty,” and the second goal, “Zero Hunger. The growing trend of the world population also has a significant impact on food issues: according to the ” World Population Projections 2022 Revision ” published in July 2022, the world population is expected to reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022, and then increase to 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.

With such population growth, there is concern about a “protein crisis”. Livestock animals are the main source of animal protein, but the livestock industry consumes large amounts of grain. Increased demand for protein due to population growth could lead to shortages in the supply of both livestock animals and grain. As a result, it is predicted that the balance between protein demand and supply will be upset around 2030, resulting in a “protein crisis”.

In recent years, attention has focused on “cultured meat” as a solution to food and protein shortages. Cultured meat is meat produced by culturing livestock cells, such as chicken and beef, in vitro. Research and development of cultured meat is progressing around the world, and in Japan, the University of Tokyo and NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS CO., LTD. are collaborating on research aimed at practical application of cultured meat. In addition, an awareness survey conducted in September 2022 among chefs in the U.S. revealed that 86% of the respondents were open to providing cultured meat, indicating high expectations for this new potential food ingredient.

On the other hand, in Japan, cultured meat has not yet been “defined as a food”, and rules regarding raw materials and production processes have not been established. Therefore, it has been difficult to realize sales of cultured meat, and many consumers were concerned and worried about the quality and safety of cultured meat.

Against this backdrop, on February 22, 2023, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his intention to start fostering an industry of “cellular agriculture,” in which meat and fish cells are cultured and grown, and expressed his commitment to ensuring the safety of cultured meat and establishing labeling rules. The government will work to improve the environment for the production and sale of cultured meat and contribute to solving the world’s food problems by fostering a food tech business originating in Japan. If domestically produced cultured meat can be produced, it will not only contribute to solving the global food crisis, but also stabilize food self-sufficiency in Japan. Another sustainable advantage is the reduction of the environmental burden that could be generated by the livestock industry.

Cultured meat is still unfamiliar in Japan, but with the support of the government, it may be on the market in the near future. Why don’t restaurants also pay attention to the cultured meat market, which is attracting high expectations from around the world, and aim to offer it?

[Reference site] Global Food Crisis | World Food Programme
[Reference Site] The world population is expected to peak by the end of the 21st century, and the population shift that began in the late 18th century is expected to come to an end.
[Reference Site] Japan’s Prime Minister Embraces Cultivated Meat As Part of the Country’s Sustainable Future
[Reference site] “Creating Rules Favorable to Japan” Necessary to Develop a Cultured Meat Industry in Japan
[Reference Site] Prime Minister Kishida is eager to foster the cultured meat industry, and will “promote the development of the environment.

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