Varieties of fishcakes, including Kamaboko and chikuwaare regaining popularity in Japan thanks to growing health awareness as the novel coronavirus crisis has kept people at home since last year.
Fish patties have caught the eye in recent years because they are made from low-fat, high-protein fish meat and are rich in amino acids needed to maintain muscle.
Reflecting a drop in consumption, the volume of production of fish cakes, essential to Japanese dishes whose oschi traditional cuisine for New Year’s Eve and Oden stew, has been falling steadily in recent years.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, seafood pasta production in 2020 was around 473,000 tonnes, down nearly 60% from around 1,155,000. tons in 1975. The number of enterprises in the seafood processing sector also decreased considerably during the period. .
Consumption of fish cakes has recently improved as more people staying home amid the pandemic have become health conscious.
An organization of around 600 seafood processors has created a logo to be displayed on products containing a certain level of fish protein.
In collaboration with Japanese television personality Ritsuko Tanaka, the Tokyo-based association has uploaded a video on its YouTube channel on easy exercises based on yoga.
The video highlights the benefits of exercise and taking fish protein for people who are concerned about their physical strength and for those who want to maintain muscle mass.
Meanwhile, Suzuhiro Kamaboko, a processed seafood maker in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, developed colorful fish protein bars this summer in collaboration with Japanese professional soccer player Yuto Nagatomo and others through the crowdfunding.
The company plans to sell the protein bars, which are made from splendid alfonsino fish and other ingredients, to people who donated to the crowdfunding project. He will also consider selling the products to the general public.
Suzuhiro Kamaboko says some people started eating kamaboko due in part to Nagatomo’s influence.
“We hope to deliver new food products that go beyond the scope of existing products,” a company official said.
Yano Shoten, a company in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, has started selling a new type of chikuwa, nicknamed “kinniku (muscle) chikuwa”, online recently.
The product has spread across Japan, and the company says it has received inquiries from gyms.
In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is urging residents and visitors to exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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