Granola with hefty hint of hijiki

Courtesy of Nozomi Hasegawa
A bag of Hijikigranola

TSU — A company in Meiwa, Mie Prefecture, has come up with a granola product with hijiki powder that infuses the health-conscious snack with a salty hint of the sea.

Product developer Tsuji Jozo Shoten Y.K., a seaweed product preparation and packaging company, also sells the new Hijikigranola product.

Meiwa has long been an Ise hijiki production hub, but the novel coronavirus pandemic has brought on a period of slumping sales among the town’s six hijiki processing companies that deal in food services, school lunches and souvenirs.

Tsuji Jozo Shoten President Takehiko Tsuji became concerned and asked Nozomi Hasegawa, a cooking expert and food consultant who is an acquaintance of his, to develop a product in February.

Hasegawa got started by conducting a survey among women in their 30s and 40s. She found that while hijiki was widely recognized as healthy, people generally only purchased it as a precooked side dish. Reasons behind the consumer behavior included, “Can’t be bothered to immerse it in water” and “Simmering is the only way I know how to prepare it.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takehiko Tsuji, left, and Nozomi Hasegawa, who developed a new product using hijiki

With the survey results in mind, six original hijiki test-products were developed. At a tasting session in June, Hijiki granola emerged with the highest evaluation, beating out minced meat fried cake with hikiji and okara soy pulp; hijiki miso balls; and hijiki chocolate.

The granola was prepared by powdering hijiki, then mixing it with oats, almonds and honey, and finally baking the mixture in an oven. The granola is naturally sweet with a hint of sea flavor and pairs well with milk or a dollop of yogurt.

“Hijiki has seven times as much dietary fiber as burdock root and is believed to be effective for losing weight and intestinal regulation. I hope young women will eat it,” Tsuji said.

A 120-gram Hijikigranola bag sells for ¥890. The product is available at the company’s online shop (