Non-Dairy Margarine & Butter, Cheese, Cream, & Yogurts

Non-Dairy Margarine and Butter
Vegan Cheese
Non-Dairy Cream
Non-Dairy Yogurts
Almond Yogurt
Coconut Yogurt
Rice Yogurt
Soy Yogurt
Non-Dairy Yogurt Starters

In Japan you can find many plant-based dairy alternatives, including plant-based margarine, soy yogurt, and soy cream. While soy yogurt is fairly widely available, it may take a bit of a search to find some of the other product types, particularly vegan cheese, or you may consider ordering online. Below are some examples of the products available.

Some foods contain flavoring and emulsifiers which may be animal-derived or sugar that may be bone-char processed. We have marked below wherever we have information on how these ingredients were made.

NON-DAIRY MARGARINE AND BUTTER 

Vegan margarine is not the easiest thing to find in Japan, but there are a few options. We’ve listed them below. As always, dairy products and gelatin are the problem. Here is an example of regular margarine containing gelatin/ゼラチン/zerachin (the third ingredient):

margarine contains gelatin.jpg

IMG_0057 highlighted

Meiji’s Cake Margarine contains pork-based emulsifier per their customer service.

Actually, on the website, the ingredients say 乳化剤(大豆由来)(Emulsifier-soy derived). Per the company’s customer service, that does not imply that it’s only soy emulsifier, just that soy emulsifier is included, which is information they have to include for people who have allergies. This product contains both pig and soy emulsifier.

Meiji Cake Margarine/明治ケーキマーガリン. Ingredients: Edible vegetable oils and fats, edible refined processed fats and oils/emulsifiers (derived from soybeans), flavoring, colorants (β-carotene).

meiji cake margarine.jpg

Below are margarines that appear not to contain animal ingredients from the ingredients list, or are explicitly sold as vegan.

Boso A-1 Soft Margarine. Ingredients: Rapeseed oil, edible refined processed fats and oils (rapeseed), salt, emulsifier (derived from rapeseed), flavor.

The product was created for people with soy allergies. This product does not contain eggs, dairy, or soy, and care is taken during the manufacturing process.

The package says “植物性,” meaning plant-derived, and “牛乳を含まない商品,” meaning the product does not contain milk. The rapeseed oil is not genetically modified and is pressed in Australia.

The margarine is white because no coloring is used.

It may not be possible to find this product in regular supermarkets, but it is available for online purchase on Rakuten Ichiba (Japanese).

Boso A-1 Soft Margarine

The Kyoto 100% vegan and gluten-free cheese restaurant CHOICE has handmade, small batch fermented vegan butter spread for sale online and in their restaurant. The required frozen shipping is not cheap, but the quality of their products is exceptional. They sometimes sell their products at vegan food festivals.

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CHOICE’s Fromage Fermented Vegan Butter Spread/発酵ヴィーガンバター スプレッド. Ingredients: Cashew nuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, soymilk (not genetically modified), rapeseed oil (not genetically modified), sunflower lecithin, agave syrup, natural salt, nutritional yeast, lactic acid bacteria (derived from soybeans).

Product contains soybeans.

Photo courtesy of CHOICE.

choice fermented vegan butter spread

Marin Foods My Tasty Vegan Soft. Ingredients: Digestion resistant dextrin(Domestic manufacturing), Vegetable oil, Refined oils and fats processing, Salt / Emulsifier, Flavors, Food coloring(Carotene).

From its website: “It is a healthy vegan spread that does not use animal origin ingredients nor use 28 allergenic ingredients.

It has reduced cholesterol, and 60% less calories compared to soft-type margarine products based on the standard tables of food composition in Japan.
Dietary fibers that are difficult to take with the ordinary diet are included in this vegan soft.” 

This product can frequently be found at Aeon supermarkets. It can be purchased online from Green’s Vegetarian

There is more information about Marin Foods’ vegan series of products (cheese, margarine and hotcakes) on its website (English).

Photo from Marin Foods’ website.

marin foods my tasty vegan soft

Bio C’ Bon grocery stores stock Naturli Vegan Spreadable. As of the end of 2020, there are Bio C’ Bon stores in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

Naturli Vegan Spreadable. Ingredients (from Naturli website (English)): Organic rapeseed oil (39%), water, organic coconut oil (22%), organic shea butter oil (13%), organic ALMOND BUTTER (2%), salt, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), organic carrot juice, organic lemon juice, natural flavour.

May contain traces of: Hazelnut, cashew and pistachio.

Naturli vegan spreadable (2)    Naturli vegan spreadable ingredients (2)

Costco in Japan stocks Nuttelex. It’s necessary to have a membership to shop there. However, it may be possible to purchase it via Honestbee or The Flying Pig by request. It’s also sold here on Amazon Japan but at a higher price. Another version of this product made with canola and palm oils instead of olive oil is also available here on Amazon Japan.

Nuttelex Buttery Spread with Olive Oil

Nuttelex Buttery Spread with Olive Oil is selling for 438 jpy for 1 kg at Costco as of August 2019. Marked “vegetarian and vegan” on the back of the package. Does not contain milk, lactose, gluten, soy, nut oils, or genetically modified ingredients. Uses cholesterol-free oils and natural flavors and colors. Contains vitamin D.

Nuttelex Buttery Spread with Olive Oil

Below is an example of a vegan margarine found in some specialty and health food stores. It can also be purchased online from Green’s Vegetarian.

Sokensha Fermented Soymilk Margarine/発酵豆乳入りマーガリン. Ingredients: Edible vegetable oil (safflower oil), refined edible oil (palm oil), fermented soymilk (fermented with plant lactic acid bacteria), salt/lecithin (from non-genetically modified soybeans), antioxidant (tocotrienol).

Package says mixed RSPO certified sustainable palm oil and 100% plant-based ingredients are used.

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Shigezo is a tofu shop with its own line of products, some of which appear not to have animal ingredients from a review of the ingredient lists. The store has branches in Tokyo and Niigata, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures. Find the shop list here (Japanese). The products are also available to order online. Check our Vegan Cheese section below for information on their mozzarella and cream-cheese style products and our Non-Dairy Cream section further down this page for information on their fresh cream-style tofu product. 

Shigezo Soy Milk Butter/茂蔵 豆乳バター . Ingredients: Vegetable oil, soymilk cream, soymilk, soybean flour, salt.

Product contains soybeans.

Photo from Shigezo’s Yahoo Shopping store.

Shigezo Soymilk Butter

VEGAN CHEESE 

Smoked tofu is not always vegan, but occasionally you might spot some that appears not to have animal ingredients. While not exactly cheese, it would go well with crackers, etc.

This Field of Cheese smoked tofu was spotted in a small shop in Kanazawa and may be available elsewhere in Japan.

• Field of Cheese – Smoked Tofu (Salt Flavored)/くんせいとうふ 畑のチーズ. Ingredients: Domestic soybeans, natural bittern (nigari), deep water sea salt. Note the other flavors may not be vegan. The “ishiri” flavor is made with squid per its website.

Field Cheese   Field cheese - back    Field cheese

Japan also has a unique creation called tofu misozuke. It originated in Fukuoka Prefecture and is basically tofu that has been aged and cured in miso for at least 2 months, and up to 2 years. It can be made with a few variations to produce different ‘cheeses.’ It can be hard to find in Japan, but you can make it yourself if you find a recipe online.

The following product appears to be a sort of tofu misozuke or similar to one, but made with shimadofu (Okinawan island tofu), a firm tofu product. It was spotted in a branch of Natural Lawson in July 2020. 

Tofu no Hiroshiya Just Like Cheese Island Tofu, Smoked/豆腐スクラップのひろし屋 麹×燻製まるでチーズな島どうふ(スモーク). Ingredients: Tofu (made in Okinawa), miso, koji, rice, sugar, kombu extract, tofu coagulant. 

Product contains soybeans.

Smoked Cheese-like Shimadofu (2)    Smoked Cheese-like Shimadofu ingredient list (2)

It’s also possible to place bulk orders from overseas websites to get many popular brands that are not sold in Japan delivered here, including Miyoko’s Creamery, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart, and others. The Tokyo Vegan/Vegetarian Hub (formerly known as Tokyo Vegan/Vegetarian Friends Club) Facebook group has an English-language guide to ordering from the U.S.-based website  Vegan Essentials or the EU-based Vantastic Foods (formerly known as Veggie-shop24.com). According to Vegan Essentials’ customer service, they recommend DHL priority shipping for cold items, which should generally arrive in 3-4 days. They try to ship only on Monday or Tuesday so the items can arrive in the same week and not sit over weekends. They can provide shipping estimates when emailed a shipping address and list of desired purchase items. They do also ship to Japan via priority mail, but it can take up to 7-14 days, which might not be good for cold food items if they are warm in transit.

Now let’s look at brands that are available in Japan. 

The Kyoto 100% vegan and gluten-free cheese restaurant CHOICE has handmade, small batch vegan cheeses for sale online and in their restaurant, with the exception of seasonal flavors like cherry blossom and pure pepper. Seasonal flavors may only be available online. The required frozen shipping is not cheap, but the quality of their products is exceptional. Staff learned cheesemaking from Miyoko Schinner of Miyoko’s Kitchen, the American vegan cheese company. They sometimes sell their products at vegan food festivals. We recommend the koto.

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The following photos are courtesy of CHOICE.

CHOICE’s Fromage, Smoky/CHOICE’s Fromage スモーキー. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, rapeseed oil, white miso, agar agar, natural salt, sunflower lecithin, tapioca powder, xanthan gum, smoke solution, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain), turmeric. (Name of additive used and its purpose): Agar agar(coagulant), tapioca flour (coagulant), nutritional yeast (seasoning), sunflower lecithin (emulsifier), xanthan gum (thickener), turmeric (coloring matter).

Recommended to pair with whiskey, wine, Japanese sake or shochu, as well as with grilled vegetables, or for use as a salad topping. Also recommended on top of rice with a few drops of soy sauce.

choice's fromage, smoky    Choice's Fromage, Smoky 2.jpg    choice's fromage, smoky 3

CHOICE’s Fromage, Italiana/CHOICE’s Fromage, イタリアーナ. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, dried tomato, nutritional yeast, basil, natural salt, garlic powder, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain). (Name of additive used and its purpose): Nutritional yeast (seasoning).

Recommended as a spread, for use with pasta, mixed with dressing or sauce, used in lasagna or gratin or in a sandwich.

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CHOICE’s Fromage, Koto/CHOICE’s Fromage, 古都. Ingredients (raw materials): Cashew nuts, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, Japanese peppercorns, natural salt, powdered Japanese pepper, lactic acid bacteria (derived from grain). (Name of additive used and its purpose): Nutritional yeast (seasoning).

Recommended not only to put on bread and crackers, but also to eat with fresh vegetables. Goes very well with sake or sparkling wine.

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CHOICE’s Fromage, Rum Raisin/CHOICE’s Fromage, ラムレーズン. Ingredients: Cashew nuts, raisins, soymilk, agave syrup, rum, natural salt, lactic acid bacteria (derived from soybeans).

Made with organic raisins soaked in rum. Recommended to eat with bagels, scones, pancakes, or between cookies or crackers, with coffee, tea or wine. Can also be used in homemade sweets.

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Kempo Instant Cashew Cheese/建歩 インスタント・カシューチーズ . Adding water makes a cheesy sauce that goes well on quiche, pizza or pizza toast, pasta or potatoes, or can be used as a sandwich spread. Available online at Kempo’s website (Japanese). It’s also possible to order in English by messaging Sheila Kawakami on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Kempo.

Kempo cashew cheese (2)

Mame Maju Mou cheeses can be bought online from Tengu Natural Foods, among other sellers. They  are reported by Green’s Vegetarian, a popular vegan and vegetarian online shop, to contain palm oil.

Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. Mame Maju Mou, Soy Cream Cheese /大豆舞珠(まめまーじゅ). Ingredients: Soymilk, vegetable oil, dextrin, salt, thickener (modified starch), trehalose, stabilizing agent (soybean polysaccharide, pectin), pH adjusting agent.

Product contains soybeans.

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Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. Mame Maju Mou, Mascarpone Style/大豆舞珠mou(まめまーじゅ ムー). Ingredients: Soymilk, vegetable oil, soymilk cream, soy protein, salt/thickener (processed starch), glycine, magnesium chloride-containing material, stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), pH adjusting agent.

Product contains soybeans.

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Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. Mame Maju Mou, Soy “Cheese,” Semi-Hard/大豆舞珠(まめまーじゅ)セミハード. Ingredients: Soymilk, vegetable oil, starch, maltodextrin, salt, yeast extract/thickener (modified starch), pH adjusting agent.

Product contains soybeans.

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In April 2020, Marin Foods launched a new version of their vegan shred without the 28 specified allergens, removing almonds from the formula. Find more information in this PR Times article. It can be purchased online directly from Marin Foods or from Green’s Vegetarian.

The English-language Marin Foods product page states:

“It is a cheese alternative for vegans.

  • We made this cheese alternative, using plant-based ingredients. For vegan (vegetarian). We do not use animal origin ingredients nor 28 allergenic ingredients.
  • Compared to Gouda cheese, it is 99% cholesterol reduced.
  • Enjoy this for heated menus including pizza toast and gratin.”

•  Marin Foods My Vegan Shred 97% Plant Ingredients/私のヴィーガン97%植物シュレッド. Ingredients: Vegetable oil, chickpea flour, salt, fermented seasoning liquid, yeast extract powder, dextrin/modified starch, cellulose, pH conditioner, stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), flavor, coloring (carotene).

Photo from website.

Marin Foods My Melting Shred 97%

The previous version of the product may also turn up on the market while stocks last:

This plant-based shred “cheese” has 99% less cholesterol than gouda. Intended for melting- the website suggests using it on pizza toast or gratin. Sometimes spotted in Aeon supermarkets.

• Marin Foods My Melting Vegan Shred– 99% reduced cholesterol. Ingredients: Vegetable oil, processed almond, salt, fermented seasoning liquid, yeast extract powder, modified starch, ph conditioner, cellulose, seasoning (organic acid etc.), spices, coloring (carotin).

Product contains almonds.

Contains none of the 27 specified allergens.

Made in the same factory as items containing dairy. According to the website, “We produce this product at the same facility where we also use milk, but we practice thorough cleaning before producing this product.”

There is more information about Marin Foods’ vegan series of products (cheese, margarine and hotcakes) on its website (English).

Photo from website.

Marin Foods 99% Less Cholesterol front of package

The package of this Marusan Soymilk Shred “cheese” is labeled “dairy ingredients not used/ 乳原料不使用.”

Marusan Soymilk Shred/ Marusan 豆乳シュレッド. Ingredients: Soymilk (includes soybeans) (domestically produced), vegetable oil, salt, fermented seasoning liquid, yeast extract powder/modified starch, cellulose, pH adjusting agent, stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), flavoring.

Photo from website.

Marusan Soymilk Shred

Mozzarisella (English) vegan cheese alternatives from Italy are available in Bio C’ Bon supermarkets in Classic and Smoked flavors. The products are made from sprouted brown rice. 

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A 60 year-old tofu company called Sagamiya is currently selling various soy cheeses in regular supermarkets across Japan, many of them under the “Beyond Tofu” name. They can sometimes be found in Aeon supermarkets. They can also be bought in Sagamiya’s Rakuten Ichiba shop. LiveKindly has an interesting article on some of their Beyond Tofu products here (English). The blog Sushivoyage states that Beyond Tofu products contain palm oil. The company has no relation to the American company Beyond Meat.

Check our Soy Yogurt section further down this page for information on their soy Greek-style “yogurt” product, and our Soy Products section for information on their current flavored tofu(s).

They tend to cycle through some of their items quite quickly, so if you are interested in them, you’ll probably want to purchase while you have the chance. Particularly their flavored tofu items seem to often be temporary, seasonally available items.

NOTE: their previous Nomu Tofu drink and current (as of May 2020) Beyond Tofu Latte, Beyond Tofu Mocha Latte and Beyond Tofu To-Go drinks are not vegan as they contain honey/はちみつ. Unfortunately, the packaging of the last three products prominently states “100% Plant-Based Foods.”

The following product was formerly sold as Sagamiya Natural Mascarpone-like Tofu/相模屋 マスカルポーネのようなナチュラルとうふ. It states “100% Plant Based Foods,” “100% Dairy-Free,” and “Gluten-Free” in English on the package.

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Natural/相模屋 BEYOND TOFUナチュラル. Ingredients: Tofu (tofu cream, salt)/coagulant (magnesium chloride (nigari)), edible olive oil. 

Photo from website.

Beyond Tofu Natural

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu is a plant-based “cheese” in block form/ブロックタイプ, cube form/キューブタイプ, and shred form.

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu block/相模屋 Beyond Tofu ブロックタイプ. Ingredients: Fermented soymilk food product (soymilk (contains soybeans), starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt/thickener (modified starch), coagulant (magnesium chloride (natural bittern (nigari))), pH adjusting agent, carotenoid pigment.

Product contains soybeans.

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• Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Vegan Cheese. Ingredients: Fermented soymilk food product (soymilk, starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant (magnesium chloride (natural bittern (nigari)), pH adjusting agent, carotenoid pigment.

Product contains soybeans.

Beyond Tofu vegan cheese new packaging    Beyond Tofu vegan cheese new packaging, back of package

The previous version of the product is shown below:

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Cubes/相模屋 Beyond TofuキューブタイプIngredients: Fermented soymilk food product (soymilk (contains soybeans), starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant (magnesium chloride (natural bittern (nigari)), pH adjusting agent, carotenoid pigment.

Product contains soybeans.

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As of mid-2020, a larger package of the shredded “cheese” appeared on the market, with the words “vegan cheese” prominently displayed on the package. This photo was taken in a branch of Maruetsu Petit grocery store in Yokohama in June 2020.

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Vegan Cheese Miracle Protein/相模屋 Beyond Tofu ピザ・シュレッド.

Beyond Tofu Vegan Cheese (2)

Although still viewable on the Sagamiya website, the Beyond Pizzas may not currently be available as of the end of 2020. They were two differently-shaped “pizzas” consisting of shreds on a piece of agedofu (fried tofu) that you heated up at home.  They did not include sauce or other toppings.

Sagamiya Beyond Pizza. Ingredients: Fried tofu (soybeans (not genetically modified)), fermented soymilk food product (soymilk, starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant, pH adjusting agent, carotenoid pigment.

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• Sagamiya Beyond Pizza, round version. Ingredients: Fried tofu (soybeans (not genetically modified)), fermented soymilk food product (soymilk, starch, yeast extract), vegetable oil, starch, starch syrup powder, table salt, thickener (modified starch), coagulant, pH adjusting agent, carotenoid pigment.

This version is labeled “vegan” in English on the front of the package. The ingredient list is the same as the rectangular version. The package states that it is dairy, lactose, and gluten-free.

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Sheese, the vegan cheese from the Isle of Bute, Scotland, is available for purchase in Japan online from Green’s Vegetarian and can also be found at vegan food festivals. Photo taken at National Azabu grocery store in Hiroo, Tokyo.

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Shigezo is a tofu shop with its own line of products, some of which appear not to have animal ingredients from a review of the ingredient lists. The store has branches in Tokyo and Niigata, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures. Find the shop list here. The products are also available to order online. Check the Non-Dairy Margarine and Butter section on this page for information on their soy butter and our Non-Dairy Cream section on this page for information on their fresh cream-style tofu product. 

Their Fermented Soymilk Cream product is meant to be close to the taste of cream cheese. 

Shigezo Hakkō Tōnyu (Fermented Soymilk) Cream/茂蔵 発酵豆乳クリーム. Ingredients: Soymilk, vegetable oil, dextrin, salt, thickener (processed starch), trehalose, stabilizing agent (soy polysaccharides, pectin), pH adjusting agent.

Product contains soybeans.

Photo from Shigezo’s Yahoo Shopping store.

Shigezo Hakko (Fermented) Soymilk Cream

Shigezo Mozzarella Tofu/茂蔵 生モッツアレラ豆腐. Ingredients: Soymilk cream, soymilk (soybeans: not genetically modified), modified starch, coagulant (crude seawater magnesium chloride (nigari)), emulsifier, pH adjusting agent, cellulose, antioxidant (vitamin E).

Photo from Shigezo’s Yahoo Shopping store.

Shigezo Mozarella Tofu

Terra Foods is a vegan company that makes a variety of products that can be ordered online. They also operate a very popular vegan hamburger and hot dog food truck in Tokyo.  Check our Soy Products section for information about their tempeh “Mighty Patty” product and our Meat Substitutes section for information about their “Just Like Sausage,” Just Like Chik’n Nuggets” and “Just Like Beef Seasoning.”

Terra Foods Just Like Cheese(Maru de Cheese)/Terra Foods まるでチーズ. Ingredients: Soymilk (from non-GMO soybeans), vegetable oil, starch, dextrin, salt, yeast extract, pH adjusting agent.

This product is similar in taste and appearance to a white semi-hard cheese. Can be melted or eaten as-is and used in salads, pastas, on nachos, and so on. It can be found in smaller health food shops or ordered online at the above link. Photo on left from Terra Foods’ website. 

Certified vegan by Vege Project Japan.

Photo on right courtesy of Vege Project Japan.

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Now let’s move on to looking at an Aeon house brand, Topvalu.

The following product, Topvalu Soymilk and Coconut Oil Mild Shred, can be found in some Aeon and Aeon-affiliated stores. It has an English warning on the front of the package saying “May contain animal-derived ingredients, depending on the product.” It appears to mean that some products in the same Vegetive line contain animal products. The part below it in Japanese, 使用してるアレルゲンは、お買い上げのたびに表示をご覧ください, means that they want you to check the package of the product when you buy it to see what allergens were used. The product page on the website also says even if the package looks the same, the nutritional and allergy information might differ depending on what plant it was made at, so you need to look at the individual package to find that information/同じ商品に見える場合であっても、製造工場の違いにより栄養成分やアレルギー情報などが異なる事がございます。パッケージに記載されている内容のご確認をお願いいたします.

The Kyoto Vegan Diet account on Twitter reports that they contacted the company shortly after the product’s release (in early 2020) and found that the product has no animal ingredients.

Topvalu Vegetive Melty Shreds/豆乳とココナツオイルからつくったまろやかシュレッドIngredients: Soymilk (contains soybeans), edible vegetable oil (coconut oil, rapeseed oil), chickpea powder, salt, fermented seasoning liquid, yeast extract, dextrin/processed starch, cellulose, pH adjusting agent, flavoring, coloring (carotene).

TopValu Soymilk and Coconut Oil Mild Shred

NON-DAIRY CREAM 

Below is some soy whipped cream that is available in Japan. The Sujahta appears to be the only choice available on the mainstream market. The Sujahta website states (from autotranslate): “I used soy ingredients instead of milk ingredients. A smooth whip with a fine white texture.
* This product production line manufactures products containing milk. Line cleaning is performed when switching between manufactured products.”

Sujahta Non-Dairy Soy Whipped Cream/スジャータ 乳製品を使っていない豆乳入りホイップ. Ingredients: Vegetable oil, organic soymilk, sweeteners (oligosaccharides, maltose, sugar), emulsifier (derived from soy), stabilizing agent (modified starch, polysaccharide thickener), metaphosphoric acid Na, flavoring. Note the maltose is from corn/potato/sweet potato and the modified starch is from cassava. It is not known whether the flavoring is vegan.

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Nature’s Charm Coconut Whipping Cream is available online from the Youki Retail website, along with other Nature’s Charm products: Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce/ココナッツ塩キャラメル, Coconut Chocolate Fudge Sauce/ココナッツチョコレートソース
, and Condensed Coconut Milk/コンデンスココナッツミルク

All four of the Nature’s Charm products mentioned here are marked vegan on the labels.

•  Nature’s Charm Coconut Whipping Cream/ココナッツホイッピングクリーム. Ingredients: Coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, sugar/thickener (CMC), emulsifier, flavoring.

Photo from website.

coconut whipping cream

It’s not a whipped cream, but Shigezo sells a tofu product which is marketed as being just like a healthy fresh cream.

Shigezo is a tofu shop with its own line of products, some of which appear not to have animal ingredients from a review of the ingredient lists. The store has branches in Tokyo and Niigata, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures. Find the shop list here (Japanese). The products are also available to order online. Check our Vegan Cheese section on this page for information on their mozzarella and cream-cheese style products and the Non-Dairy Margarine and Butter section on this page for information on their soy butter.

Shigezo Natural Cream Tofu/茂蔵 ナチュラルクリームとうふ. Ingredients: Soymilk cream, soymilk (soybeans (not genetically modified), salt/coagulant (crude seawater magnesium chloride (nigari)), emulsifier, ph adjusting agent, cellulose, antioxidant (vitamin E).

Photo from Shigezo’s Yahoo Shopping store.

Shigezo Natural Cream Tofu 

NON-DAIRY YOGURTS 

Soy yogurt is the most commonly available non-dairy yogurt in Japan. It may be a bit of a search to find others, although almond, coconut and rice types exist. We’ve detailed all four types (almond, coconut, rice, and soy) in their own sections below. 

ALMOND YOGURT 

The package says “plant-based” in English and “shokubutsusei shokuhin/植物性食品”  in Japanese. The press release states that no dairy ingredients were used. Per a customer inquiry in April 2020, the lactic acid bacteria are plant-derived. Check larger or more upscale supermarkets to have a better chance of finding it. Photo taken at a branch of Tokyu Store.

Kokubu Foods The Almond Milk Yogurt/アーモンドミルクヨーグルト. Ingredients: Almond paste (domestically manufactured), fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin (dietary fiber), agar, almond oil.

Product contains almonds.

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COCONUT YOGURT 

Coconut yogurt seems to be making small steps into the Japanese market, although distribution remains limited. 

In 2018, a domestically manufactured coconut yogurt with plant-derived lactic acid cultures was launched from the company Fruta Fruta. It appeared to be the first mass-produced coconut yogurt domestically manufactured in Japan. As of November 2019, it was available at the following locations (from its website and from autotranslate):

“・ Aeon Retail nationwide (excluding Hokkaido and Ryukyu)
・ Aeon Kyushu
・ Daiei Kanto / Kansai
・ Sanyo Marunaka
・ Aeon Market (formerly Peacock Store)
・ Maxvalu Tokai
* May be available at some stores. Please contact the store in advance when purchasing.
Frutta Frutta Acai Cafe Shibuya Hikarie ShinQs is also available.”

However, as of December 2020, it seems to be only available in the archives of the Fruta Fruta website and it is not clear if the product was discontinued.  

Fruta Fruta Coconuts Guruto/Fruta Fruta ココナッツグルト. Ingredients: Coconut milk, agar agar, psyllium seed coat powder.

The package reads “sugar, flavorings, colorings, thickeners not used.”

Made by Kyushu Dairy Corporation (Kyushu Nyuugyou Kabushikigaisha/九州乳業株式会社).

 

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Happy Coco Coconut Yoghi (Natural/Vanilla/Mango/)/ハッピーココグルト ~プレーン~ ~バニラ~ ~マンゴ~ (English)
This coconut yogurt from Europe is available at Bio C’Bon grocery stores. Marked gluten-free and vegan in English on the packages.

Natural/プレーン. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, vegan yogurt cultures.

Vanilla/バニラ. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, agave syrup, lemon juice, vanilla beans, flavoring, vegan yogurt cultures.

Mango/マンゴ. Ingredients: Coconut milk, tapioca starch, mango, agave syrup, lemon juice, flavoring, vegan yogurt cultures.

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RICE YOGURT 

A brand called Allernon produces rice yogurt. Per its website, some products have the VegeProject vegan mark. The website also states that the lactic acid bacteria used to make the Allernon Rice Yogurt is plant-derived/植物性乳酸菌/shokubutsusei nyūsankin, and comes from traditional fermented foods. Also, the products do not contain any of the 28 specified allergens.

The yogurt can be found on the Allernon website, the Vegan Store in Asakusa, Tokyo, and at many other shops. The complete list of shops that carry Allernon products can be found here. Below is a selection of products from its website.

Allernon Rice Yogurt/ALLER-NON お米のヨーグルトアレルノン. Ingredients: Rice (domestic), lactic acid bacteria.

Spring water is also used to make this yogurt.

Contains none of the 28 specified allergens.

Photos from website.

allernon yogurt    allernon yogurt 500 g

Allernon Lemon Rice Yogurt/ALLER-NON お米のヨーグルトRiseレモン. Ingredients: Rice (domestic), lemon juice, caster sugar (sugar beet sugar), lactic acid bacteria.

Allernon lemon yogurt

Allernon Yuzu Rice Yogurt/ALLER-NON お米のヨーグルトRiseゆずアレルノン. Ingredients: Rice (domestic), citron peel, caster sugar (sugar beet sugar), lactic acid bacteria.

Allernon yuzu yogurt    allernon yuzu yogurt 500g

SOY YOGURT 

Soy yogurt is available in Japan, but look out for gelatin/ゼラチン/zerachin. Many companies also use dairy-derived lactic acid bacteria to make soy yogurt. The source of the lactic acid bacteria will often not be listed on the label or company website. The lactic acid bacteria will often not be written in the product’s ingredient list. It is not clear whether lactic acid bacteria are collected from the source each time this product is manufactured or whether lactic acid bacteria that are already in circulation are cultured, nor what medium they are cultured on.

Let’s start by looking at a brand called Fujicco which has released a yogurt that’s made from soybeans.

Fujicco does animal experiments. Per the @kyotovegandiet account on Twitter, they did not do animal experiments when developing this product. The emulsifier of the raw material is 100% plant-derived (sugar cane, palm, sugar beet sugar). Palm oil is used. The “isolated source” of the lactic acid bacteria used is “fermented food of milk derived from animals” (it is not disclosed what animal it is).

This means that the website’s statement “no milk ingredients/乳成分不使用” does not extend to the lactic acid bacteria.

The medium the bacteria is grown on is vegetable. They did not disclose whether lactic acid bacteria are collected from the source each time this product is manufactured or whether lactic acid bacteria that are already in circulation are cultured.

Fujicco Yogurt from Soybeans/フジッコ 大豆で作ったヨーグルト. Ingredients: Soybean powder (soybeans (not genetically modified)), emulsifier.

Product contains soybeans.

Fujicco Yogurt from Soybeans with x    Fujicco Yogurt from Soybeans back of package

Aeon is a good place to look for soy yogurt.

The following product is carried at Aeon and MaxValu stores, as well as a small handful of other shops which are listed at the link in the product name (Japanese). It can also be ordered online.

Horimilk Soy Flora/ホリ乳業 ホリビオティック ソイフローラ. Ingredients: Domestic soybean powder (not genetically modified), sugar.

This soy yogurt is made by a dairy company. Monde Selection Silver award winner. Uses 100% domestic soybeans. Probiotic bacteria and vegetable protein are intended to balance gut flora, hence the name of the product. Each cup contains the nutrients and fiber of 30 Japanese soya beans. The type of sugar used is called “Ishigaki Island Delicious Sugar.” The company confirmed that 100% Ishigaki Island Delicious Sugar is used in this product. The company that makes the sugar confirmed that bone char is not used to whiten the sugar.

They did not get back to us about if the lactic acid bacteria are animal-derived.

It does not contain preservatives, so has a relatively short shelf life of 18 days.

Made by Hori Dairies/ホリ乳業.

Photo from website.

I am flora-image

The same company also makes another type of soy yogurt. This has been spotted in some Aeon stores.

Horimilk Whole Soybean Yogurt/ホリ乳業 大豆のまるごとヨーグルト. Ingredients: Soybean powder (not genetically modified), sugar, flavoring.

This soy yogurt uses 100% North American soybeans of the highest quality, finely powdered using a patent protected production method, and patent pending lactic acid bacteria. No dairy products or coagulant are used. The whole soybean (except the skin) is used so it’s rich in soy protein, isoflavones and dietary fiber.

They did not get back to us about if the lactic acid bacteria is animal-derived.

It does not contain preservatives, so has a relatively short shelf life of 18 days.

It can also be ordered online.

Made by Hori Dairies/ホリ乳業.

Photo from website.

Horimilk whole soybean yoghurt.jpg

Marusan makes the most widely available soy yogurt in Japan. 

Marusan Soymilk Yogurt/マルサンアイ 豆乳グルト. Ingredients: Soymilk (Canadian soybeans, non genetically-modified).

Package is marked 乳成分不使用/dairy components not used and 植物由来の乳酸菌/plant-derived lactic acid bacteria used.

In 2018, the company stated that in the past, they once did a joint research project outside the company with a university, which included animal testing using their yogurt. They do not currently do any animal testing. They have not decided if they will ever do animal testing again in the future.

It appears that Marusan provided this yogurt for animal testing on request by the researcher. The researcher stated that he gave rats feed which included the Marusan soy yogurt, which they could eat freely in their cage. He worked in accordance with the animal welfare regulations of the university. After 5 weeks he killed the rats and examined the organs. He thanked Marusan for providing the soy yogurt needed for the research. The original research report is here (Japanese). This means that the product itself seems not to have been developed using animal research.

Marusan Soymilk Yogurt

Marusan Soymilk Yogurt with 100% Domestically Produced Soybeans/マルサンアイ 国産大豆の豆乳使用 豆乳グルト. Ingredients: Soymilk (Domestically-produced soybeans, non genetically-modified).

The package says 乳成分不使用/dairy components not used and 植物性乳酸菌/plant-derived lactic acid bacteria used.

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If you live locally to Kobe, you may be lucky enough to find Ozaki no Tofu products in shops. It’s a shop that specializes in making tofu from domestic soybeans and natural seawater bittern from Izu Oshima. They also make a soymilk yogurt made with plant-derived lactic acid bacteria and 100% vegetable ingredients called Ozaki no Tofu Kobe Soymilk Guruto. It’s also made of domestically produced soybeans. Check their Facebook page or Instagram for information about other products they carry such as vegan cream cheese, vegan smoked cheese and vegan mozzarella. The page is mostly in Japanese, but those products are noted with some English sentences. 

Note that although the package suggests eating it with honey/hachimitsu/はちみつ, the soymilk yogurt itself doesn’t contain any honey, so is safe for vegans. 

Ozaki no Tofu Kobe Soymilk Guruto/尾崎のとうふ 神戸豆乳グルト. Ingredients: Domestically produced soybeans, plant-derived lactic acid cultures. 

Photos from Ozaki no Tofu’s Facebook page and website. 

Ozaki no Tofu Kobe Soymilk Guruto    Ozaki no Tofu Kobe Soymilk Guruto 2

Pokka Sapporo Soyafarm Soymilk Yogurt /Pokka Sapporo 豆乳で作ったヨーグルト  in plain, aloe and blueberry flavors is not vegan as it contains gelatin/zerachin/ゼラチン. 

The product also bears the “Tokuho (food for specified health use)” mark, which looks like an outline of a person stretching. The Consumer Affairs Agency says that the use of the Tokuho (food for specified health use) mark does not require the conduct of animal experiments, and if there is enough history of humans having eaten the food, animal experiments are unnecessary. However, in reality many animal experiments are being conducted. There is more information about the Tokuho mark on the Peace (Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation) website. A product not bearing the mark is not evidence that no animal experimentation was done to create the product.

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Pokka Sapporo Soybio Soymilk Yogurt, Plain Unsweetened/ Pokka Sapporo ソイビオ豆乳ヨーグルト プレーン無糖. Ingredients: Soymilk, dietary fiber.

Product contains soybeans.

Out of the 27 specified allergens, this product only contains soybeans.

Dairy products not used. However, as of 2019 customer service states the lactic acid bacteria is of animal origin.

This product has been spotted at some Aeon and Maruetsu supermarkets.

The newer version is shown on the left and the older version is shown on the right.

Pokka Sapporo Soybio Soymilk Yogurt, Plain UnsweetenedPokka Sapporo Soybio Soymilk Yogurt

There is also a sweetened, drinkable version that comes with a disposable straw available in: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Yamanashi, and Nagano. It may use the same animal-derived lactic acid bacteria.

Pokka Sapporo Soybio Soymilk Yogurt, Plain Sweetened/ Pokka Sapporo ソイビオ豆乳ヨーグルト プレーン加糖. Ingredients: Soymilk, sugar, dietary fiber, concentrated lemon juice/processed starch, stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), flavor.

Product contains soybeans.

Out of the 27 specified allergens, this product only contains soybeans.

Although we did not contact the company about it, presumably this product has the same animal-derived lactic acid bacteria, since it is just a version of the above product with more ingredients added to flavor it.

The newer version is shown on the left and the older version is shown on the right.

Pokka Sapporo Soybean Yogurt, Plain Sweetened    soybio drinkable yogurt

The small containers of Pokka Sapporo Soybio Plain (Sweetened)/Pokka Sapporo ソイビオ豆乳ヨーグルト プレーン加糖 and Pokka Sapporo Soybio Strawberry/Pokka Sapporo ソイビオ豆乳ヨーグルト ストロベリー are not vegan as they contain gelatin.

Pokka Sapporo Soybio Plain Soymilk Yogurt    20190704_195936 (3)

“100% dairy-free” and “gluten-free” are written in English on the package of Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Greek Style. The website states it’s “just like Greek yogurt/まるでギリシャヨーグルトのような.” Since this product is more of a tofu in a yogurt style, made using nigari (bittern) to thicken it, it probably doesn’t contain any live cultures. 

Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Greek Style. Ingredients: Tofu cream, salt/processed starch, coagulant (magnesium chloride (nigari)).

Product contains soybeans.

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Sagamiya Beyond Tofu Greek Style, Edamame/枝豆風味. Ingredients: Tofu cream, vegetable oil, salt/processed starch, coagulant (magnesium chloride (nigari)), flavoring, gardenia pigment.

Product contains soybeans.

88045020_10220940806607307_3110585658461126656_n (3)    90227271_10221033585446720_6470129414062473216_n (2)

 

Sendaizu is a brand by JA (Japanese Agriculture Cooperative) Sendai. From autotranslate from its website: “JA Sendai brand “Sen Soybean” is a part of soybean cultivation support in the coastal area of ​​JA Sendai, which was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake…”Soy yogurt” is newly added to the “Sen soybean” series! This is the first step in developing products that you can eat on a daily basis. Please try yogurt that makes the most of the functionality and flavor of soybeans for daily health promotion.”

Sendaizu Soy Yogurt is manufactured by Hori Dairies/ホリ乳業.

Sendaizu Soy Yogurt/仙大豆 Soy Yogurt. Ingredients: Soybean powder (domestic soybeans, not genetically modified), sugar, flavoring.

We have not inquired about the source of the cultures in this product. The package has “dairy-free” written on it in English, however, it seems doubtful if that extends to the lactic acid bacteria.

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Pokka Sapporo also manufactures the Topvalu Soymilk Yogurt (Aeon house brand) under the Vegetive label. Dairy products not used/乳製品を使用していません is written on the lower left corner of the front of the package. Someone who contacted their customer service reported that they were told the product contains no animal ingredients and the lactic acid bacteria in the product is from vegetables. 

Topvalu Soymilk Yogurt, Plain/大豆イソフラボン含有 豆乳ヨーグルト プレーン. Ingredients: Soymilk (contains soybeans), dietary fiber (inulin).

Photo from website.

TopValu Soymilk Yogurt

There are also some other drinkable soy yogurts on the mainstream market, although they aren’t very common. We have not yet been able to identify any without animal-derived lactic acid bacteria. 

• CGC Drinkable Yogurt/CGC のむ豆乳ヨーグルト. Ingredients: Soybeans (grown in Kyushu, not genetically modified), sugar/stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), acidulant, flavoring, cellulose, emulsifier.

Soymilk was fermented with lactic acid bacteria for a refreshing taste. Uses Kyushu-produced “Fukuyutaka” soybeans. According to their customer service in 2019, they use two kinds of lactic acid bacteria, one derived from dairy mozzarella and one from dairy yogurt.

Photo from website.

cgc drinkable yogurt

Fukuren Drinkable Soymilk Yogurt/ふくれん 豆乳でつくったのむ豆乳ヨーグルト. Ingredients: Soybeans (not genetically modified), sugar/stabilizing agent (polysaccharide thickener), acidulant, flavoring.

Soymilk was fermented with lactic acid bacteria for a refreshing taste. Uses Kyushu-produced “Fukuyutaka” soybeans. The website states that because it does not contain milk allergens, it can be enjoyed by people with milk allergies. Per customer service, the lactic acid bacteria is animal-derived. The lactic acid bacteria in this product is not alive as the product is sterilized after the fermentation process.

Photo from website.

Fukuren Soymilk Drinkable Soy Yogurt

NON-DAIRY YOGURT STARTERS 

If you want to try to make your own yogurt, unfortunately, vegan yogurt starters don’t appear to be available from regular grocery stores, but you can check iHerb. This one was found at a Bio C’ Bon grocery store and it’s also available on the Ohta website.

Ohta Soy Yoguru Soymilk Yogurt Starter/太田 豆乳専用種菌 ソイヨーグル

This starter for soymilk yogurt uses plant material to grow yogurt starter bacteria and plant-derived lactic acid bacteria. Milk is not used.

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