You do not have to be an expert to know that food plays an enormous role in Japanís culture and history, but how has this changed over the years? It is fascinating to look into the history and changes that have happened to Japanís food scene over the years as it clearly shows that they are always pioneering and moving forward while still respecting the traditions of the past.
A Huge Food Market
Japan has an enormous food market in Asia second only to China at 23% of the market share compared to Chinaís 38% with a combined food retail and food service market approaching near $600 billion. The countryís older generation tends to maintain a traditional Japanese diet which usually centers around food like sushi, tempura, sashimi, miso soup and udon noodles while the younger generations still enjoy this food but also are adopting Western cuisine and habits.
It is clear that Japanese cuisine is changing with the consumer profile now adding things like milk, wheat and other dairy products in addition to more traditional and healthy products. One thing that has not changed in terms of Japanese cuisine is the high expectations and emphasis on quality. Food has always played an important role in culture and in family in Japan so a lot of love and care goes into food whether this is home-cooked, in a restaurant or street food.†
Following this, street food has resurged in popularity in recent years in certain areas (like many places) as they become important social hubs for residents. When it comes to options like street food, quality (and safety) is ensured through the use of devices like a thermocouple to ensure that food is cooked and at the right temperature.
There are problems in Japan though when it comes to food and this is the rising cost. There are links between oil prices and food prices and when oil prices spiked in 2008 it had a clear impact on the food prices in Japan – this is always a concern when situations can change quickly and could cause people to suffer and the pandemic has been a good example of this. Japanese consumers tend to be price-conscious but are often willing to pay for good quality especially with a large percentage having high disposable income.
It is interesting to look at the food industry in Japan as it plays such an important part of their culture and changes in this market reflect the changes that the country has gone through over the years.
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