Japanese soups stock 'dashi’ and umami characterize Japanese food culture. In recent years, many foreign chefs are learning basics of Japanese cuisine. They are surprised by the presence of dashi which is quite different from soup stock in Western country. Since 1990’s, Japanese chefs have been actively participating gastronomic conferences held in Europe and US, and information on the unique techniques and ingredients of Japanese cuisine spread overseas. For Japanese people, soy bean is common material for making soy sauce and miso, but overseas, chefs started using various ingredients other than soy beans to make original fermented foods that are rich in umami taste. In addition to authentic Japanese cuisine, variety of fermented foods and cooking techniques based on the Japanese cuisine have been introduced by foreigners. This phenomenon should be one of styles in globalization of Japanese cuisine.
Oils and fats are widely used in processed foods, and they are essential for health, taste and texture. Our food business which started from the production of margarine in 1929, has been working with the highest priority of 'reliability and safety’ and 'deliciousness’. We have focused on responding needs and demands in supply chain markets both domestically and abroad, and provided high value-added oil and fat products adjusted to every regional practice and social situation.
In this report, we review how we have coped with some topics such as reduction of trans-fatty acids and recent market issues (for example, 'labor shortage’ and 'food loss and food waste’).
The ice cream, also known as King of Sweets, gives you deliciousness, fun and peace of mind. Ice cream market size in Japan expanded steadily during the late Showa period, supported by the expansion of the population and the high growth of the economy. However, it had shrunk significantly over the past 10 years in the Heisei period, and then it has expanded again and still continues the present day. This V-shaped recovery is explained by factors in fields such as logistics, sales, production, marketing, and research and development. We also introduce big hit ice cream products in the Heisei period and discussed the challenges of the ice cream industry in the Reiwa period.
In this study, 39 cultivars of shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes (Berk.) Pegler) cultivated on solid media under the same conditions were analyzed for flavor components (umami) conferred by nucleotide,amino acids or peptides, such as guanosine 5’-monophosphate (5’-GMP), free amino acids and lentinic acid. The highest pileus 5’-GMP concentration (151.8 mg/100 g dry weight (d.w.)) was approximately 15 times that found in pileuses of the cultivar with the lowest 5’-GMP concentration (10.1 mg/100 g d.w.). Similarly, the highest stipe 5’-GMP concentration (60.2 mg/100 g d.w.) was approximately 14 times that found in the stipes of the cultivar with the lowest concentration (4.4 mg/100 g d.w.). Compared to the cultivar with the second highest 5’-GMP levels, 5’-GMP production was 1.5 times higher in the cultivar with the highest 5’-GMP levels. So this cultivar was specially prominent in all 37 cultivars analyzed. In addition, cultivars with high pileus 5’-GMP concentrations tended to have high stipe 5’-GMP concentrations. Wild shiitake cultivars had low 5’-GMP production ability, but 5’-GMP was high in shiitake cultivars considered suitable for log cultivation. The amounts of free amino acids in the pileus and stipe varied markedly between different cultivars. The lowest level of glutamic acid a typical umami compound in the pileus (66.0 mg/100 g d.w.) was 7.6 times lower than the highest level measured in the pileus of most cultivars (500.1 mg/100 g d.w.). Glutamic acid production in the pileus and stipe were markedly higher in wild cultivars compared to cultivars grown on sawdust substrate or on logs. Lentinic acid was the second most common flavor component to glutamine in the pileus and stipe, with a three-fold difference observed between the minimum and maximum pileus concentrations (i.e. 531.0 and 1635.9 mg/100 g d.w., respectively).
Undergraduate students (n=78) who were born in the 1990s, people in their forties (n=100) who were born around 1970, and people in their sixties (n=100) who were born around 1950, completed questionnaires responding to whether various dishes would be considered "homemade.” The dishes presented to the participants differed by the extent to which pre-prepared food was utilized, for example, "somebody bought fully-cooked pasta and served it without even transferring the food to a plate,” "somebody bought fully-cooked pasta, warmed it up in the microwave, and served it after transferring it to a plate,” "somebody bought dried pasta, boiled it, added sauce they had purchased, and served it,” and "somebody bought dried pasta, boiled it, cooked pasta sauce with sausage and onions, and served it.” The results were summed up as follows. First, younger people were more likely to judge the dishes that utilized pre-prepared foods such as a frozen or pre-packaged food products to a certain degree as "homemade.” In contrast, older people were more resistant to judge such convenience-oriented cooked dishes as "homemade.” Second, the participants’ judgments of "homemade” differed by their experiences of how often they have eaten meals at home. People with more meals at home experiences were more likely to judge dishes that utilized more pre-prepared food as "homemade,” while people with more eating out experiences when they were children, were less likely to suppose ready-made meal as "homemade.”
A survey was conducted on the preferences for fish / seafood or meat dishes among children aged 3 and over enrolled in day nurseries in eight different cities (Akita, Sendai, Utsunomiya, Tokyo, Kofu, Nagano, Kurobe, Kochi). Data from 2625 people was analysed three times; in 1996, 2006 and 2016. The findings were as follows:
1. The percentage of children who preferred fish and seafood was highest in 2006, at 74%. The percentage of children who preferred meat was at 73% in 2006 and at 76% in 2016. In the 2016 survey, children in all three age groups preferred meat to fish and seafood. Regional differences in fish and seafood preferences decreased. The 2016 survey showed that children in every region preferred meat to fish and seafood.
2. The most popular types of fish and seafood were shrimp, tuna, salmon, clams, and whitebait. The number of children with a preference for fish and seafood over meat had decreased by 2016 with the exception of salmon.
3. The most popular sauces among the children surveyed were soy sauce, miso, mayonnaise, curry and ketchup.
4. Childrens seafood preferences were influenced by their parents’ preferences for seafood, the children preferences for meat, serving frequency of seafood at dinner and their age.
We studied the diffusion processes of seasoning materials (L-glutamic acid, sodium ion and D-glucose) in gels. In the present study, the gel was soaked in a solution containing 0.30% (W/V) monosodium glutamate, 1.0% (W/V) NaCl and/or 3.0% (W/V) D-glucose, and the apparent diffusion coefficient (D) was determined in 2.0% (W/W) agar gel containing xanthan gum (0%, 0.20% or 0.50% (W/W)) after 24 hr at 30℃ in a one-dimensional diffusion system. As the results, the D of L-glutamic acid increased in the presence of NaCl in the agar gel containing xanthan gum, but the increasing effect disappeared by the further addition of D-glucose. The increase in D of sodium ion by the addition of xanthan gum was also suppressed by the addition of D-glucose. It was obvious that the diffusion of sodium ions was facilitated by the carboxyl-group in the xanthan gum, and that the diffusion of L-glutamate increased with the flow of the sodium ions.