Japan Ranks Second In Alternative-Protein Patents

by Ella

Japanese organizations are rapidly expanding their presence in the alternative protein market, positioning themselves just behind the United States in the value of related patents. This industry is expected to grow significantly as the global population increases and the demand for sustainable food sources rises.

In collaboration with the Tokyo-based research organization Patent Outcome, an analysis was conducted on patents filed by companies and research institutions involved in developing alternative protein products. Each patent was given a score based on its value, revealing the competitive landscape of this burgeoning market.


Patent Leaders in Alternative Proteins

As of the end of April, the United States topped the list with a combined score of 4,340 points, followed by Japan with 2,570 points. Switzerland and China ranked third and fourth, with 1,740 and 1,651 points, respectively. Notably, three Japanese companies made it into the top 20 organizations: Fuji Oil, Amano Chemical, and Nissin Foods.


Leading Japanese Companies

Amano Enzyme: Positioned sixth overall, Amano Enzyme specializes in producing pharmaceutical enzymes. It has applied for a patent to use plant proteins treated with enzymes as a milk substitute in coffee drinks, targeting vegans and individuals who abstain from animal protein for religious reasons.


Fuji Oil: Holding significant patents for plant-based margarine and cheese, Fuji Oil has been a pioneer in the alternative protein market since 1969, when it began selling a soy-based meat substitute. In 2022, the company released a soy meat product that closely mimics the texture and flavor of real meat, suitable for grilling and frying.


Shigeru Ashida, a senior manager in Fuji Oil’s plant-based food division, commented on the rising popularity of plant-based meat made with soy: “Plant-based meat made with soy gained in popularity due to trends toward greater environmental and health consciousness.”

Global Trends and Market Impact

The alternative protein market is poised for rapid growth, driven by increasing consumer awareness of environmental sustainability and health benefits. Japanese companies are at the forefront of this trend, leveraging their expertise and innovation to develop high-quality meat and fish substitutes.

Fuji Oil’s advancements in plant-based meat products exemplify Japan’s commitment to sustainability and health. The company’s new soy meat product, designed to closely resemble real meat in taste and texture, addresses the growing demand for plant-based alternatives that do not compromise on quality.


Japan’s strong showing in the alternative protein patent landscape underscores the country’s strategic focus on sustainable food solutions. As the global population continues to rise, the need for innovative, environmentally friendly protein sources will only become more pressing. Japanese companies like Fuji Oil and Amano Enzyme are well-positioned to lead this charge, contributing to a more sustainable and health-conscious global food industry.

The competitive edge of Japanese firms in the alternative protein market highlights the nation’s ability to adapt and innovate, ensuring their prominent role in the future of global food production.



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