Onigiri–those sometimes triangular, sometimes circular rice balls that are ubiquitous at Japanese convenience stores. Inexpensive, perfectly portable, and easy to wolf down in a few moments, they’re the Japanese snack of choice for everyone from working executives to a family out on a picnic.
A few days ago, Fumihiko Nagamatsu, a director of Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd, the parent organization of 7-Eleven Japan, unveiled upcoming plans in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun to extend the expiration date of their onigiri by roughly twice the current length of time. 7-Eleven onigiri presently have a shelf life of approximately 18 hours, a time which would be extended to approximately 1.5-2 days under the new target with plans for implementation in March 2021.
Nagamatsu elaborated by stating that 7-Eleven locations in Japan sell an average of 200 onigiri per day. He predicts that this simple change would reduce the amount of wasted onigiri by 50 percent. As 7-Eleven does not currently use preservatives in its onigiri and has no plans to moving forward, the chain is currently considering different ways to achieve this goal. The most likely option appears to be increasing the nitrogen within the sealed packaging to preserve the freshness, but it is also investigating other methods due to the different packaging styles used for various types of onigiri.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
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