[Corona ni Makeruna] Diet drinks and foods become ‘food of the year’


Japan Racing Association

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

[non] alcohol flavored drinks for dinner at the restaurant, and oatmeal rice to eat there.

Choices reflect lifestyle, as COVID-19 has kept many people at home “nesting” again in 2021, as they did in 2020 when the most popular words were “gourmet take-out” and “hot flat rice”.

Closer to the taste of alcohol

“Food of the Year” generally reflects consumer choices that received the most attention during the year, reflecting societal trends. According to the Tokyo-based Gurunavi Research Institute Inc, which has been surveying the food industry since 2014, this was the first time beverages came out on top.

Until recently, “alcohol flavored beverages” carried the image of a drink for teetotallers, or a drink that could be safely consumed during work hours. But that all changed in the past year as COVID-19 restrictions impacted establishments serving alcoholic beverages during the pandemic. Consumers have adapted by opting for the flavor of alcohol without the buzz, making these drinks more popular than real alcohol.

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

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

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

Instead of rice and wheat

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

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

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

During the COVID-19 pandemic people have become more health conscious, low carb oatmeal which is high in dietary fiber and minerals has become popular. According to Cookpad, the number of people searching 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 greater interest in menus featuring Risotto, okonomiyakiand omurice or omelette rice.

The most consumed onion

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

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

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

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

“Both of these vegetables can be stored easily and are very versatile. I think they became particularly popular this year because people shopped less often. And that habit continued, even after the state of emergency for COVID-19 was lifted. »

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

Author: Satomi Sakaki

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