Japan Data

Instant Rice Production at All-Time High in Japan


Instant rice is becoming more popular in Japan on the back of demand from the elderly and single-person households.

Instant rice production is rising steadily in Japan. In 2017, 188,875 tons of instant rice was produced, marking a new high for the second year running. That figure is more than twice as much as the 78,507 tons produced in 2000. Instant rice meets the needs of the elderly and single-person households because it only requires simple heating prior to consumption, instead of the use of a time-consuming rice cooker, and it comes in convenient one-size servings.

Instant rice is sold either in retort pouches (mainly rice porridge) or plastic trays (mainly white rice). Sales of the latter in particular have been robust.

Instant rice in trays was once purchased mainly for emergency rations. But since heating the rice in a microwave results in a flavor and texture similar to that of steamed rice, it has gradually become an everyday food item. There is also growing demand for packages of five to ten servings that can be stocked in case of a disaster.

Instant rice producers are expanding their capacity by building new plants or installing additional assembly lines in anticipation of a further increase in demand. These companies are also expanding their range of products to include brand-name rice that appeals to customers on the basis of flavor and brown-rice or zakkoku (mixed grains) products to suit a growing health consciousness.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Pixta.)

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