You May Soon Be Able To Buy Vegan Wagyu

Many food brands sell meatless burgers; There are plenty of recipes for plant-based bacon, and even vegan lox is a thing now. The food industry has come a long way in turning animal-based products into vegan-friendly ones, and Wagyu beef is the latest one on that list. According to Live Kindly, vegan Wagyu, an innovation created by Top Tier Foods, was first introduced to the U.S. back in 2021. It was only available at select stores and sushi restaurants across the country for a limited time during its test phase.

Fortunately for vegans curious to try the world's first vegan Wagyu, that test phase has advanced to a full-fledged rollout. Blair Bullus, CEO of Top Tier Foods subsidiary Wamame Foods, announced (via Vegconomist) that the Wagyu alternative is set to launch internationally by spring 2022. Before then, it'll be served at the invite-only 2022 TED Innovation Showcase, following in the footsteps of major plant-based food brands Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

How is vegan Wagyu made?

Considering Wagyu beef is a Japanese delicacy, it makes perfect sense that the vegan version of it would be developed by Japanese experts. "Our team in Japan worked tirelessly to create the textures and flavors that mimic this exceptional beef by using traditional ingredients and cooking methods," CEO Blair Bullus shared (via Live Kindly). In doing so, Bullus explains that soybeans were used as the primary ingredient, along with soy sauce, rice wine, giner, and garlic paste. The results yielded strips of vegan wagyu that resemble meat so closely that they even fooled Japanese chef and restaurateur Hidekazu Tojo.

The famed inventor of the California roll told news outlet South China Morning Post that although he was skeptical at first, the taste and texture was so similar to that of real Wagyu that he had a hard time believing it was made from plants. Not long from now, the rest of the world will see for themselves exactly what Tojo meant.