Alarmed by an increase in abandoned rice paddies amid the Westernization of the Japanese diet and a graying population, a Kyushu dealer of major agricultural machinery-maker Kubota Corp. began producing rice flour in 2010 as an ingredient for bread and pasta to make up for declines in rice consumption.

After trial and error, the Kumamoto Prefecture-based company discovered that using paste instead of flour could be cost effective for bread and pasta production and turned its attention to brown rice, whose bran outer layer is rich with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

The layer is polished off in the production of white rice.