Ninohe City Business Operators “Food Diversity Declaration”! Responding to the needs of Vegan and Halal

Currently, it is estimated that there are 900 million Vegetarians (including Vegans) and about 1.8 billion Muslims (Halal) and Jews (Kosher) around the world. A lack of understanding of these people’s dietary restrictions and the delay in handling those restrictions have led to a significant loss of opportunities for consumption and reduced satisfaction with visits to Japan. In particular, the need to respond to vegans’ dietary restrictions has also led to an increase in the number of vegan-friendly restaurants around the world.

Since 2018, Ninohe City of Iwate Prefecture has been working on the “Ninohe-type Terroir” project and has been promoting various projects by concluding a partnership agreement with Nanbu Bijin and Komatsu Seika, the two companies leading the regional economy. In order to promote appropriate responses to the diversity of food among local companies and to be chosen as the “Tokyo 2020+1 City” for the increasingly growing number of foreign visitors to Japan (= inbound), as well as to aim for the global expansion of local food products (= export), we hereby declare the “Ninohe Food Diversity Declaration.” This project is produced by the private businesses leading the regional economy.

Nanbu Bujin Co., Ltd. is a sake brewery that exports to 46 countries and regions around the world. The company received Kosher certification in 2013, and received Vegan certification for all products in Japan and overseas in January 2019 (Japanese: NPO Vegan Project Japan, Overseas: The Vegan Society).

Komatsu Seika Co., Ltd. has a long history of producing the Nanbu Sembei and has attracted attention being featured on “Kanbria Kyuden,” in November 2019 on TV Tokyo. In December 2019, five products received Vegan certification (NPO Vegan Project Japan).

Kuji Farm breeds the famous high-quality “Oritsume sangen Pork / Sasuke.” In the future, they plan to apply for Halal certification for the “Uredori (chicken)” that they have been selling since 2018.

In the city of Ninohe, a Japanese restaurant owned by Komatsu Seika is preparing to serve vegan and halal foods. The sake bar inside the sake brewery of Nanbu Bijin will also begin serving vegan sake soon. In the near future,more and more restaurants are expected to start serving vegan and halal foods in the city of Ninohe.

They will promote the creation of an environment where visitors can visit without concern about their particular nationality, ideology, culture, or religion, as well as the creation of world-class products that will be endeared by the world’s markets. We also recognize that these efforts are based on the concept of “SDGs” (Sustainable Development Goals) and “no one will be left behind” (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations last year.

On January 24th 2020, the press conference held at Gonpachi (Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo) which was made famous by former U.S. President Bush and former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s “Izakaya Summit.” Gonpachi already offers a Vegan Sake Set, which is a selection of vegan sushi and Nanbu Bijin vegan sake, and is popular among vegetarians and foreign visitors. They hereby proclaim the “Food Diversity Declaration” as one team in collaboration with business operators and related personnel of Ninohe City.

By Mari Miyata