Jani: A New Type of Plant-Based Product - Uplifting Upcycling #8
A brand new plant-based product with the potential to return 100 million tons of unused vegetables in to our food system each year.
📣 Announcements 📣
🎉🎁🎉🎁 Golden Week Giveaway Contest - Extended🎁🎉🎁🎉 We’re extending our Golden Week Giveaway until this Friday. Find out more at the bottom of this post ⬇️
📣🚀 How do you build a successful food-tech business in APAC? 🚀 Find out now. The Founder Institute just launched the Food APAC 2022 Accelerator. On May 17th they will gather partners and top local entrepreneurs, including Big Idea Ventures, to reveal the playbook for building a food startup in Food APAC. Register for this online event now and get front-row seats to the future of food in this region:
About us: MarketShake is curated by GourmetPro. We help F&B brands and companies enter or expand in Japan by providing bespoke matching to our exclusive network of bilingual consultants. Exploring opportunities in Japan's F&B industry? GourmetPro has the perfect expert to guide you. Explore our services.
Happy Tuesday Market Shakers. Welcome to our final instalment of Uplifting Upcycling.
There are a lot of “plant-based” products out there that try to replicate meat. It’s pretty rare to see a company launch a plant-based product that isn’t some kind of “burger”, “nugget” or “milk”. But today we’re going to hear from a startup that’s doing things differently.
Fourth Cultured Food Group was founded in 2020 by Joëlle Courties. Joëlle is an entrepreneur whose vision is to upcycle the millions of tonnes of cassava leaves currently wasted each year into an ultra-nutritious, ready to eat or reheat stew.
Joëlle sat down with us to tell Fourth Cultured Food Group’s story and explain how they plan to add an annual 100 million tonnes of vegetables to our food system without ever planting a single seed.
The Fourth Culture Food Group’s new superfood
As well as being a contender to take salad’s place as the go-to healthy meal, Jani has a shelf life of 36 months (and counting), making it an easy to store, easy to access vegetable.
Jani has roots in Joëlle’s childhood
In 1996, war broke out in the Congo, forcing Joëlle and her family to flee to France. Her childhood experiences motivated her to create a nutritious product with a long shelf life that could be eaten in times of crisis. This was the seed of Jani, which has flourished into a plant-based product with mass-market potential.
Joëlle’s inside view of the food system meant upcycling was the only solution
Joëlle’s life has given her a unique perspective on the world’s food system, which she explains is far more fragile than most people realize.
Joëlle has experienced the challenges of the food supply chain, which most of us only read about in newspapers or reports, up close. But that’s not all.
The idea that upcycling was the solution to many of these issues came to Joëlle when she started her own trading company in 2016.
Turning over a new cassava leaf
In Thailand, cassava leaves are considered waste from production processes that use the root, so farmers burn 74% of them each year.
In total, the world wastes around 100 million tons of cassava leaves every year. Joëlle saw an opportunity to add these staggering amounts of wasted vegetables back into our food system without planting a single seed, while also reducing pollution. After four years of research and preparation, she moved to Thailand and launched the Fourth Culture Food group to bring Jani to the world!
Pioneering a brand new product brings challenges
Cassava leaf stew is a product that is totally new for many consumers. For Joëlle, this is a story of scepticism and opportunity.
The cassava leaf situation in Thailand highlights one of the struggles of upcycling. Implementing it can bring immediate costs that overshadow the long term gains.
Similarly, Joëlle had to work hard to find a local manufacturer who would support upcycling cassava leaves into stew.
The response to Jani from consumers has been much more positive, however.
Joëlle has found western and Asian audiences respond enthusiastically to Jani.
COVID-19 has re-written the rules of the market
The COVID-19 pandemic ground Joëlle’s plans to launch Jani to a halt. Despite the setback, she has used the time to her advantage.
The food crises that COVID-19 sparked have also made traditionally vegan sceptic segments in Asian markets more open to plant-based products according to Joëlle.
How will the Fourth Culture Food Group market Jani?
When introducing a totally new product, marketing is vital for success. Here Joëlle has a lot of ideas.
Hospitality is an industry that faces numerous challenges in terms of food waste: from logistical, to storage, to sustainable consumption and disposal. Hotels such as the Four Seasons in Japan have already partnered with CRUST to seek more sustainable uses for their wasted bread. Shelf-stable, upcycled ingredients could be an additional source of relief for their struggles.
In addition to creating opportunities for consumers to try Jani, Joëlle is working on researching and developing other functional products with cassava leaves.
Will Jani touch down in Japan?
Joëlle is planning a trip to Japan to explore the market and seek out opportunities to introduce cassava leaf-based products. We asked Joëlle about the prospect of introducing Jani as a crisis food, for which there is a big market in Japan.
That’s a wrap!
There you have it, folks. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Joëlle for sharing the Fouth Cultured Food Group’s story with us.
We’ll be taking a break from scheduled programming for the next two weeks while we prepare for our new cycle! We’ll keep the exact topic a sea-cret for now (hint hint), but stay tuned to find out more. Don’t worry though, we’ve prepared some exciting content for you to enjoy in the meantime. Stay you next Tuesday!
Win a gift box of premium foods by sharing Market Shake
🎉🎁🎉🎁 Golden Week Giveaway Contest - Extended until Friday 05/13🎁🎉🎁🎉 Enter our time-limited Golden Week Giveaway contest to win a fabulous selection of premium food and drinks by simply sharing with your friends and colleagues:
Uplifting Upcycling Chapters
#4 - Shelf Sweep
#7 - Interview: Trendi
Made with ❤️ by GourmetPro - Food & Beverage experts in Japan.
💌 If you have any questions, you can directly answer this email. We read and answer all messages.
💖 And if you think someone you know might be interested in this edition of Market Shake, feel free to simply forward this email or click the button below. 💖