Japanese food is famous all over the world. Everyone knows sushi, tempura and tofu. A lot of Japanese food is so well presented it looks like art. It is therefore a little surprising that Japan's "dish of the year" for 2022 is frozen food. Each year, the Gurunavi Research Institute decides on the winner for its culinary award. The prize is given to food that highlights trends in what people eat. Frozen food got the prize in 2022 because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many people did not dine out at top restaurants. Instead, they stocked up on frozen food and ate at home. The winning frozen food was very basic - no examples of haute cuisine. The judges selected a variety of frozen meat and pizzas – still in their air-tight bags.
Gurunavi said the pandemic has resulted in food companies experimenting with different ways of freezing food. They want to make sure that frozen food tastes good, even after it thaws out. One of Japan's largest supermarkets has opened a specialized food shop called @Frozen. It sells over 1,500 different frozen food items. Japan's convenience stores have expanded their frozen food sections, and frozen food vending machines are popping up everywhere. Some sell frozen sushi. Japan's Frozen Food Association said changing lifestyles have increased the popularity of frozen food. Japan's population is aging, so many older people find frozen dishes more convenient than cooking from scratch.