[Corona ni Makeruna] Drinks and dietetic foods become “food of the year”


Innovators in Japan develop new technologies to fight coronavirus


This year’s keywords chosen by food companies picked their keywords of the year in December, and they are:

[non] alcohol-flavored drinks to dine at a restaurant, and oatmeal rice to eat there.

Choices reflect lifestyle, as COVID-19 has kept many people at home again in 2021, as they did in 2020 when the most popular words were “Take away gastronomy” and “Hot plate rice”.

As close as possible to the taste of alcohol

The “food of the year” generally reflects the consumption choices that have received the most attention during the year, reflecting societal trends. According to the Tokyo-based Gurunavi Research Institute Inc, which has been conducting surveys of the food industry since 2014, this was the first time that drinks came out on top.

Until recently, “alcohol-flavored drinks” had the image of an abstruse drink, or a drink that could be safely consumed during working hours. But that has all changed in the past year, as COVID-19 restrictions impacted establishments serving alcohol-based beverages during the pandemic. Consumers have adapted by switching to the flavor of alcohol without the buzz, making these drinks more popular than real spirits.

Japanese brewing companies have helped fuel the trend by competing to launch new “light alcohol” beers with an alcohol content of less than 1%. These were followed by the appearance of other non-alcoholic drinks with hints of Japanese sake or wine flavors, and a fancy non-alcoholic cocktail dubbed “Mocktail”, which has become a popular drink in the world. bars and restaurants.

Like Gurunavi Research Institute points out, “Alcohol-flavored drinks saved the restaurant industry. They are likely to stay here and will be added as a new alternative for those who love alcohol as well as those who don’t want to drink.

The evolution of beverage manufacturing has helped fuel the trend. The methods have become more sophisticated, making it possible to produce a taste more similar to that of alcohol.

Instead of rice and wheat

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Homemade dishes using healthy ingredients like oatmeal instead of rice are popular (photo provided by Cookpad).

Cookpad Inc. (Nishi-ku, Yokohama), Japan’s largest recipe sharing service, selected “rice with oatmeal” for its “Food Trend Award 2021”.

Oatmeal is made by beating and processing oats to make them easier to cook. They are made into porridge, a standard breakfast in Europe and the United States. The Japanese have just discovered it and it is becoming popular as more and more people use it as a substitute for rice and flour.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people became more health conscious, low-carb oatmeal high in dietary fiber and minerals became popular. According to Cookpad, the number of people looking for oatmeal recipes has increased 9.4 times over the past two years.

Interest in healthy foods appears to have increased further in 2021, as more people searched for combination keywords such as “Rice”, “fried rice”, and “Rice balls”. There has also been a greater interest in menus with Risotto, okonomiyaki, and omurice or rice with omelet.

The most eaten onion

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In a survey by Kyoto-based Takii & Co., Ltd., which produces a wide variety of vegetable and fruit seeds, “onions” ranked number one for the third year in a row.

“Golden Week, from April 29 to May 5, covers many Japanese holidays and coincides with declarations of states of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka. It also coincides with the spring onion season, ”said Naoki Kirino, company spokesperson.

“A lot of people enjoy them at home in a salad,” Kirino said, explaining, “I think a lot of people have rediscovered its flavor.”

Cabbage came in second. Onions and cabbage had the same result in the “vegetables to buy even if they are expensive” category.

“These two vegetables can be stored easily and are very versatile. I think they became particularly popular this year because people were shopping less often. And this habit continued, even after the lifting of the state of emergency for COVID-19. “

(Read it Sankei Shimbun article in japanese on this link.)

Author: Satomi Sakaki

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