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Thu, 02/22/2024 - 00:48
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Better-Than-Ever Sashimi Substitutes Drawing Global Attention

Tokyo, Feb. 21 (Jiji Press)--Some Japanese companies are making plant-based substitutes for sashimi, and the qualities of such foods have improved so much that they are attracting attention both at home and abroad.

Some of them resemble real sashimi not only in appearances but also in taste and texture. Such fish alternatives are expected to help promote sustainable use of fishery resources, and are gaining interest as consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

In 2021, Azuma Foods Co. in the town of Komono in the central Japan prefecture of Mie started selling what looks like sashimi of fish such as tuna and salmon that are actually made from konjac flour and other ingredients.

They have received a high reputation for being very similar to real sashimi. They even have the whitish lines that are seen on actual sashimi.

Azuma Foods said the sashimi-like products are mostly exported, to countries including the United States and Canada. "We've been receiving a lot of orders from vegetarians and vegans," an official of the company said.

In Japan, orders for the sashimi substitutes come mainly from vegetarian cuisine restaurants and temples that serve "shojin ryori" Buddhist vegetarian dishes. Sales are on the rise in terms of volume, according to Azuma Foods.

Meanwhile, major meat packer NH Foods Ltd. has developed a sashimi substitute for tuna, a popular fish for sashimi, promoting the product mainly to companies in the dining industry.

"We created the product with special attention paid to the unique flavor and texture of tuna," from konjac flour, dietary fiber and other ingredients, an NH Foods official said.

"After six months of trial and error, we were able to reproduce not only how it looks, but also tuna's smooth texture and the aroma of iron contained in its red meat," the official said.

The company has received inquiries from restaurants in hotels and other dining establishments that are interested in the sashimi substitute.

NH Foods is scheduled to start sales of the product for commercial use in April. Until then, the company is set to continue efforts to further improve its quality.

"We hope to offer more food options to people who want to eat fish but cannot, such as expecting mothers and people who are interested in the SDGs," the official said.