TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Someno's TOFU Co., Ltd. (President and CEO: Atsuto Ono “Hanjiro VIII”, main store: 2-1-32 Higashi, Toride City, Ibaraki/ Tokyo Head Office: 2-2-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo), Japan’s long-established tofu maker since 1862, has opened a shop, the first retail outlet in Europe as well as first foreign branch, in Barcelona, Spain. The most recent revenue in September 2023 saw sturdy growth of 179% from 8 months ago in February.
The Background of the Barcelona shop opening, and reactions from local people
The shop in Barcelona had previously been that of TOFU Catalán S.L., a company established in 2010. Concerned about his advanced age, its founder Tateo Shimizu requested his long-time friend Ono to buy out the business last year. In October 2022, Someno's TOFU bought out the shares of TOFU Catalán S.L., bringing establishing the Someno’s Group. Following several months of the business succession process, during which tofu manufacturing was suspended, business started once again in February 2023. As of October 2023, the shop sells “Authentic Line” products made by traditional processing methods, imported SoMeat, plant-based meat that is also popular in Japan, as well as Bento lunch boxes and appetizers made with tofu and meat alternatives. It has also started selling imported authentic Japanese food products popular in retail stores in Japan. Customers visiting the store are mainly locals, many of which have requested more of Japan’s truly delicious foods currently unavailable in the shop, such as Japanese pickles, rice malt, and vegetables.
A Japanese and plant-based food boom in Europe
From 2018 to 2020, the plant-based food market in 11 European countries grew an astonishing 149%, amounting to an annual total sales value of 3.6 billion euros (about 540 billion yen), according to data published by CORDIS, the European Commission's Research and Development Information Service. Spain, where the opening shop is located, is the fourth largest market in Europe with an annual total sales value of 450 million euros (about 67 billion yen) and the highest market growth rate. The three main motivations for incorporating plant-based foods are concerns for health, animal welfare, and the environment. Another factor accelerating the trend lies in the fact that while the war in Ukraine has inflated the price of animal-based foods by 20%, the price of plant-based foods has risen at a relatively low rate of 0.4%.
Additionally, the number of Japanese restaurants in Europe has seen an increase of 2.4 times in the last 8 years from 5,500 in 2013 to 13,300 in 2021, according to data compiled by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). Another data from MAFF shows the value of Japan's food exports had increased by 25.6% from 2020 to 2021, indicating that Japanese cuisine overseas is expected to continue to grow in popularity.
Ono, CEO of Someno's TOFU, has stated, “Japan’s traditional diet of tofu and processed soy food is attracting increased attention even in Europe. I am excited that we can deliver such a variety of foods, produced using Japan’s authentic traditional processing methods, to the people in Europe and their fervent desire for authenticity. With our Barcelona head office as a foothold, we plan to open the same format of shops in other major European cities, including Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Venice, Italy. Even after expanding across Europe, we want to position the shop here in Barcelona as the home base for other European branches and integrate with the local community.”
Name: Someno's TOFU Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Head Office)
Address: Kishimoto Building 6F, 2-2-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, 100-0005, Japan