Next Meats Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of Next Meats Holdings, Inc. has agreed to conclude a business alliance agreement with Yakuodo Co., a subsidiary of Yakuodo Holdings, Inc. and as a part of this alliance, Yakuodo has agreed to purchase certain shares of Next Meats Holdings, Inc., to strengthen the relationship between the two companies.
Since its establishment in June 2020, Next Meats has released the world’s first plant-based Japanese barbecue meats, the “NEXT Yakiniku Series,” as well as the world’s first plant-based beef bowl “NEXT Gyudon,” and the popular chicken prototype, “NEXT Chicken.”
In Japan, the Next products has been sold at supermarkets such as Ito-Yokado, Aeon, and Life, and in the foodservice industry, it has been adopted by popular restaurants such as Yakiniku Like, as well as high-end locations such as Palace Hotel Tokyo, among others.
As part of the company’s efforts to make the products available throughout Japan, Next Meats began working with the leading drugstore chain Yakuodo Co.—which has a staggering number of 358 stores nationwide — in November last year and had exclusive fixtures called NEXT Stands installed in select stores. Yakuodo has also carried the NEXT Tuna since its launch and has jointly promoted plant-based food products ahead of other stores and regions.
The capital and business alliance was formed at this time to strengthen the two companies’ partnership and efforts to further propagate plant-based foods. Moving forward, the two companies will consider the following possibilities for collaboration.
1. Utilization of data owned by Yakuodo
Based on the purchasing data, customer data, and healthcare data owned by Yakuodo, the two companies intend to identify the needs and health issues of people in the Tohoku region and utilize this data for product development, in-store sales and advertising.
2. Product development Utilizing Yakuodo’s employee assets
Yakuodo’s 4,000~5,000 employees will be asked to take surveys and participate in other product development efforts to develop new products that reflect consumer demands. Utilizing Yakuodo’s employees will enable a speedy PDCA cycle.
3. Improvement of logistics efficiency
As one of Next Meats’ manufacturing plants is in Iwate Prefecture, we are considering utilizing Yakuodo’s delivery network to improve logistics efficiency.
“We have been working with Next Meats because we respect and feel aligned with their goal of improving the health of people and the planet through meat alternatives. We have a similar company goal to support people’s health from the Tohoku region, and are assured that forming a capital and business alliance will further generate synergies between the two companies. By leveraging Yakuodo’s existing assets such as data, stores, employees, and logistic network, and Next Meats’ product development capabilities, we aim to deliver better products to the people of Tohoku and throughout Japan,” said Koichi Sogo, Director, Managing Executive Officer and General Manager of Sales Division, Yukuodo Co.
“Since our establishment in June 2020, we have been working to bring our products to all parts of Japan, but there is still a large amount of people who don’t know about alternative meats or have had the opportunity to eat it. However, Next Meats and Yakuodo have made pioneering efforts starting in the Tohoku region and have evidently expanded the availability and recognition of plant-based products to a larger audience,” said Hideyuki Sasaki, CEO of Next Meats Co.
“We are very grateful for this and pleased to form a capital and business alliance with a partner like Yakuodo who has a similar company philosophy as us and also feels strongly about attaining the SDG goals. By strengthening our partnership, we hope to support the health of people in the Tohoku region and promote a more sustainable dietary practice throughout Japan.”