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Peace soy milk preserves skills and flavor of Japan’s disappearing tofu shops

From the fields of Omihachiman in Shiga Prefecture comes a new plant milk with ties to the past: Peace. While major brands have sidestepped soy milk for alternatives like oat, Peace leans into Japan's deep-rooted culinary traditions.

Founder Kazunori Ishibashi recalls being sent on errands to the local tofu shop as a child. Twenty years ago, Japan counted approximately 14,000 small-scale tofu makers, which has dwindled to around 5,000 due to rising costs, evolving lifestyles, challenges finding successors and competition from corporate giants. Realizing what's being lost, Ishibashi wanted to capture the essence of artisanal tofu in a format that caters to contemporary life. Peace soy milk was born.

Made exclusively of the Tamahomare cultivar of soybeans and water, Peace soy milk is additive-free and packaged in a pouch that keeps it fresh for 30 days. Using the knowledge and skills of expert tofu makers, Peace is crafted to emphasize a soybean's mild flavor and natural sweetness. The result? A soy milk reminiscent of the best tofu from a family-run shop down the street. Peace launched in August 2023 and is currently only sold online, priced at JPY 3,780 for ten 200 g pouches.

Trend Bite

With plant milk, as with any other new(ish) product category, scale is required to ramp up a market. But once that market has been established, space opens up for niche brands with a compelling flavor or story. Like Peace, which aims to help people celebrate and (re)connect with their cultural and culinary roots. 

Another core element of Peace's identity — linked to the slower pace of artisanal production — is a call to mellow out. As much as consumers have grown to expect instant gratification, they increasingly also yearn to slow down. Marketing copy for the soy milk brand encourages them to do so: "On a busy day when you're pressed for time and overwhelmed by information, take a little breather with Peace in your hand and seize time to be nothing."

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom