Ready-to-cook meals made by NH Foods Inc. and Lawson Fresh, a food delivery service run by convenience store chain Lawson Inc., are proving popular with double-income families in Japan.
Since its launch in 2013, Lawson has expanded its Kitchent menu comprising around 20 items including Japanese, Western and Chinese food, with some selling more than 600 sets per day.
A sweet-and-sour pork kit for ¥832, for instance, comes with bite-sized pieces of pre-boiled carrot and bamboo shoot as well as fried pork and seasoning. It takes around 10 minutes to prepare.
A woman working in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward said she buys two to three kits per month. "It makes me feel comfortable that I can make a side dish in 10 minutes after I get home, even when I'm busy," she said.
NH Foods is seeing success with the Renji Chori Kakumei (Microwave Cooking Revolution) line of vegetable side dishes launched in February.
Priced at ¥248, shipments of the five-variety series including German fried potatoes have been growing, it said.
Its stir-fried eggplant dish with minced meat in miso sauce heats up in five minutes in a 600-watt microwave after being shaken in a bag. It does not require other cooking utensils such as a frying pan, meaning there is less to clean up.
NH Foods said the lineup has been well received, particularly among households with children.
"They are favored because they don't require the use of a flame," a company official said. "We hope they will be more appreciated in summer when it's hot."