Canned Risotto Made with Local Seafood, Rice Gains Popularity as Emergency Food, Gifts; Production Motivated by 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Courtesy of Iwate Kanzume
Three types of risotto canned food, Gift & Stock, produced by Iwate Kanzume. The design of the cans is also a selling point, making them suitable for use as souvenirs and gifts.

Canned risotto, made using ingredients from the Sanriku coastal area and produced by Iwate Kanzume in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, is gaining popularity. Its appeal lies not only in its suitability for everyday meals and emergency stockpiling but also as souvenirs and gifts. The production of the “Gift & Stock” canned risotto was motivated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The product offers three varieties of risotto: mackerel curry, yellowtail tomato and squid cream. All are made with seafood caught off the Sanriku coast in Iwate Prefecture and rice from the Tohoku region. Familiar condiments, such as miso and ketchup, are subtly used to enhance the flavors, making the dishes enjoyable for all ages.

The company’s factory in Ofunato in the prefecture was completely destroyed by the tsunami caused by the 2011 earthquake.

However, the canned foods that were swept away from the factory became emergency sustenance for residents struggling with a supply shortage at the time of the disaster. The company has been developing these products for about three years, aiming to create items that can be stored long-term for disaster preparedness and consumed as staple foods.

Given that disasters are unpredictable, Tsuneyuki Abe of Iwate Kanzume’s sales department said, “We aimed to create food that can be eaten deliciously even in the middle of a cold winter night.”

The fashionable packaging is a far cry from typical canned goods, featuring two-tone designs with soft colors that make them ideal for gifts or decorations. Each type weighs 190 grams and costs ¥648, tax included, with a shelf life of three years. A set of three is also available.

About 30,000 units have been produced since they went on sale in June 2022.

Abe said that these canned foods are also suitable for rolling stock, a method of restocking emergency food supplies after eating them as regular meals.

“It becomes even more delicious when you put cheese on top and heat it up in the microwave. We hope people will eat our product on a regular basis,” Abe said.