Food Label Inspection in Japan

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Popular drink snacks in Japan ( March 2015 )

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In Japan, there are various kinds of alcoholic drinks, such as Japanese sake, beer, wine, liqueur, whisky, brandy, etc…. Raging from domestic products to imported ones, a wide variety of products are sold.

Recently, increasing amount of fruit liquor has been consumed. In 2012, its consumption has increased by nearly 124% compared to that of 10 years ago. The number of Japanese who travel abroad exceeds 18 million. Traveling abroad is no longer an unreachable dream, and we have more and more opportunities to be exposed to foreign cultures.

As the seasonal events taken into Japan, we can point out "Beaujolais Nouveau Day", "Oktoberfest", "Halloween", and "Christmas", etc. On each event, suitable alcoholic drinks are being imported, which expands people’s tastes and habits of drinking imported alcohol drinks.

Since last year, we've had more and more opportunities to see whiskey, which might be due to the impact of the current TV drama in Japan. Furthermore, the fact that Japanese whisky "Yamazaki" has been chosen as one of the "Whisky Bible 2015" in Britain seems to have a big impact on the popularity of whisky.

In accordance with the expanded consumption of imported alcoholic drinks, demand for "nibblies" or "otsumami", a kind of appetizer which goes with alcohol, has been increasing.

At first, simple and easy-to-eat foods such as snacks made from cheese were only ones to be seen. Now the trend has been shifting to foods which go with imported alcoholic beverage, such as dried fruits, cheese, olives or raw ham.

As the latest trend, more and more people would like to enjoy professional taste even at home. As the result, canned products, so-called "kantsuma", (which means more high-end but easier-to-enjoy prepared canned foods with selected places of origin or flavours) have been increasing.

There are a wide variety of kantsuma, ranging from shimmered meat/fish to ajillo or smoked foods, which are rich in flavour and original taste of materials.

From casual snacks to expensive cheese or raw ham, and kantsuma can be bought at supermarkets or convenience stores. One can enjoy drinking at home with those products, or there is another style: drinking in a convenience store or a Japanese style pub eating those products.

Every country may have a lot of "otsumami"-but yet unknown in Japan-which suit the palate of its own people. We look forward to more and more those "otsumami" being imported to Japan this year.