Health awareness spurs release of tasty, nutritious products easy-to-make

Couretesy of Base Food Inc. / Jiji Press
A box of items sold under the Base Food brand

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Major Japanese food makers are developing products that are delicious, easy to prepare and nutritionally balanced at a time when a growing number of consumers are becoming more conscious of eating healthily amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The companies are also trying to meet the demands of those who struggle to plan their everyday diets.

Kikkoman Corp., whose main products include soy sauce, released in August the Daizumen series of low-carb noodles. The noodles are also rich in protein, which many people tend not to consume in large amounts.

Made from a blend of flour and soybean powder, they are also designed to meet the demand of people who want a complete meal from only one dish.

“We focused on achieving both good taste and health,” a Kikkoman official who was involved in the development of the new product said. Part of the appeal of the noodles is that they come with a soup or sauce base so that consumers do not have to worry about how to season them, according to the company.

Food makers are also racing to market meals that contain all the necessary nutrients. Nissin Food Products Co., a unit of Nissin Foods Holdings Co., began selling the Kanzen Meal series, which includes aburasoba dry noodles, curry and rice, and other dishes, on its online shopping site in May. Kanzen means perfect in Japanese.

After adding new items to the series, such as frozen products including katsudon, or fried cutlets on rice, and gyudon beef on rice meals, and spaghetti Bolognese, it started selling some of them at supermarkets and other brick-and-mortar stores as well.

Base Food Inc. offers a monthly fixed-fee delivery service for breads, cookies and pasta featuring essential nutrients under the Base Food brand. Over 300,000 people have signed up for the service, officials of the company said, adding that sales at convenience and other stores have also been robust.

Efforts to create nutritional products are transcending company boundaries.

Meiji Co., under the wing of Meiji Holdings Co., sells Tanpact brand foods, which support the efficient intake of milk protein.

The products are also sold under the same brand by meat packer Itoham Foods Inc., a subsidiary of Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc., Yamazaki Baking Co. and seafood maker Maruha Nichiro Corp., which have expressed support for Meiji’s efforts on the Tanpact initiative.