Curry is well-loved in Japan and is often considered a national dish. Today, let’s take a slightly different approach and explore through numbers how curry is embraced by Japanese people.
How has curry become popular among Japanese people?
Curry powder, which has been made since before the war, saw a temporary decrease in production volume as instant curry and retort curry became popular after the war. However, in recent times, its production has been on the rise once again. Curry powder, widely used in dishes like vegetable stir-fries and curry fried rice, has now become one of the essential seasonings.
After the war, starting from the mid-1950s when solid roux became available, curry began to gain popularity, riding the wave of the instant food boom. It played a significant role in introducing curry into households. Recently, a wide variety of curries have appeared and jostle together on shop shelves.
Retort curry, which can be enjoyed after simply heating up for 3 minutes, quickly gained popularity due to its convenience. Nowadays, a great variety of curries, including regional specialties, are widely available to buy.
How much curry do Japanese people consume?
As of 1 April, Heisei 22 (2010), Japanese curry consumption has been calculated by separating the number of curry servings into curry roux, retort pouch curry, and other curry (e.g. homemade curry).
１）Curry roux, 3.43 servings/month
The number of curry servings consumed per person per month was calculated using the curry roux production data of 105,164 tons for the fiscal year 2008 (provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Food Industry Promotion Division) and a population of approximately 127,692 million people (according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research). The calculation assumes an average serving size of 20g of roux per dish.
２）Retort Curry servings, 0.44 servings/month
The number of pre-cooked curry servings consumed per person per month was calculated using the production data of 142,602 tons for the fiscal year 2008 and a population of approximately 127,692 million people. The calculation assumes an average serving size of 210g of pre-cooked curry product per dish.
３） Other types of curry (homemade curry, etc.), 0.18 servings/month
The total number of curry rice servings consumed per person per month, including those made using curry powder, was calculated using data from LifeScape Marketing’s paid communication information, specifically the ‘食MAP’ dataset. The calculation indicates an average consumption of about 4 curry servings per month.