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Cut vegetables sales doubled in Japan

Staff writer |
As the popularity of ready-to-cook cut vegetables is rising in Japan, the variety of such products is also growing.

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A broad selection of precut products is on display in the vegetable section of the Aeon Style Makuhari Shintoshin store in Chiba, including vegetables for ramen, yakisoba, curry, stew and yakiniku grilled meat.

The vegetables in the bags are cut into different shapes to suit the intended dish.

“We have increased the variety of products after hearing from consumers,” said Hideo Muroi, who is in charge of development at Aeon Retail Co. The company offers more than 40 kinds of cut vegetables for cooking.

On average, about 15 types are on sale at each store, with the variety depending on the store.

The company’s sales of cut vegetables started increasing in around 2010, when unsettled weather led to a rise in vegetable prices and consumers were attracted to cut vegetables because their prices were more stable. Before that, cut vegetables were popular mainly among young or single people.

But as elderly consumers and families began to buy cut vegetables, sales doubled in the four years from 2011 to 2015.

Health consciousness has also played a role in the growing popularity of cut vegetables.

Salad Club, a company producing and selling cut vegetables for use in salads, conducted a nationwide survey last year covering about 2,000 people aged 20 to 69.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they did not buy enough vegetables, citing such reasons as “high prices” (41 percent), “difficulty in consuming purchased vegetables” (27 percent), and “too bulky to store” (20 percent).

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