April 10, 2018
Tokyo- Japanese convenience store operators are focusing more on selling healthy "bento" boxed meals and prepared foods using plenty of vegetables or fewer food additives.
With increases in double-income and elderly households that prefer getting meals easily from outside the home to making meals themselves, the companies hope to shed the unhealthy image of convenience store bentos and encourage families to serve their foods for dinner without anxiety.
In March, Seven-Eleven Japan Co. started placing stickers on products meeting the firm's own standards, such as using at least half the daily amount of vegetables that people need.
Currently, the label is put on about 10 products, including "onigiri" rice balls. The unit of Seven & i Holdings Co. hopes to add more items, such as noodles and hot-pots, to the lineup of products that clear the standards.
Lawson Inc. offers bentos, noodles and other products with large amounts of vegetables.
The company, which is careful about the origin and freshness of ingredients of croquettes and deep-fired horse mackerel cooked at its outlets, also plans to switch to lighter seasonings for the items.
Last month, FamilyMart Co. released sandwiches using bread made from whole-wheat flour, which is rich in fiber and vitamins.
The FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co. subsidiary has also added chicken breasts, which are low in fat but high in protein, to its "Famichiki" fried chicken lineup.
The company aims to double the number of healthy food products it sells by the end of the current fiscal year.
Convenience store operators are ending the use of preservatives and artificial coloring in bentos and other products.
Seven-Eleven Japan does not use artificial yeast, which speeds up fermentation, in its bread products. Lawson has stopped using it recently.
For its sandwich products, FamilyMart has ceased to use phosphate, a substance for softening ham. Jiji Press
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