Japanese firm launches ready-to-eat ’emergency rice’ in the Philippines

Kyodo

A Japanese ready-to-eat rice-maker held an event Tuesday in the Philippines to formally introduce the market to its Rice-to-Go product, intended mainly for use in emergency and disaster situations.

Kiyosada Egawa, chairman of Biotech Japan Corp., said at the product unveiling event that he “would like to share our technology from Japan that has the ability to make rice keep its acceptable quality for a prolonged period of time.”

He noted that every year, the Philippines is struck by typhoons, “and each time the media shows us hundreds of people going hungry because food and fuel are either unavailable or scarce.”

To be sold as early as next year in 200-gram packs at a retail price of 35 Philippine pesos each (about ¥75) and with a shelf life of a year, Egawa said Rice-to-Go, made from locally grown and processed rice, is “the perfect response to such emergencies.”

It is also ideal for those who don’t have time to cook at home, those who like to go hiking or camping and others who are simply on-the-go, he added.

Egawa said his company is especially targeting the governmental and nongovernmental entities engaged in disaster relief.

Its local subsidiary, Biotech JP Corp., was established in Batangas province, south of Manila, in April 2015, and already sells three other cooked rice products.

Unlike the company’s Insta Rice, a regular, precooked rice that needs to be microwaved, Rice-to-Go does not have to be reheated.

Braddy Agarma, an officer from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, recognized the need for ready-to-eat food.

“Currently, we are looking for technologies available in the market, and Biotech is very good. You don’t need to cook anymore, and the flavor of the rice is good. The rice is not hard and not dry,” he said.