July 8, 2018
Tokyo- Noodle exports from Japan hit a record high for the third straight year in 2017, aided by the addition of the country's washoku traditional cuisine to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Combined exports of "udon" thick wheat noodles, "somen" thin wheat noodles and "soba" buckwheat noodles totaled 4.2 billion yen last year, up 45 pct from 2013 when washoku joined the UNESCO list, according to Tokyo Customs data.
The United States is the top destination, followed by Hong Kong and mainland China. Noodle exports to the United States and Hong Kong account for about half of Japan's total noodle exports in volume.
A washoku boom is continuing in the United States, where Japanese noodles have become part of regular diets at many families.
Exports to China are rising steadily, as somen noodles are becoming popular as luxury gifts among wealthy people.
The Japanese noodle industry "began to look abroad for growth about 10 years ago," expecting sluggishness in the domestic market due to the aging of the population, said an official of the Japan Federation of Dry Noodle Manufacturers Associations.
The industry is trying to boost sales mainly in the United States and Hong Kong in cooperation with trading houses, according to the association. Jiji Press
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