Popular Bento Box Trend On The Rise Again

Posted by on Sep 18

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japanese bento box salaryman trendEarlier in June, we published the results of a Nestle survey which investigated the roles of men and women as home chefs, and we discovered that a very small percentage of husbands and fathers identify with that title. Today, the Guardian released a similar survey pertaining to Japanese male white-collar workers -- and while the results are still notably small, the cultural significance is much greater.

The most interesting facet is the relationship between the Japanese "salaryman" (or white-collar workers) and the lunchtime "bento box." According to a survey released by a Japanese bank, 10% of salarymen now take bento boxes with them to work in order to save more money. Even amidst a recession, this is a significant trend shift, since most salarymen will go out to eat for sushi or ramen during lunchtime.

The rising successes of male celebrity chefs may have contributed to this, as well as an increased integration with female white-collar employees, and the popularity of seinen manga (Japanese comics geared for men) such as "What Did You Eat Yesterday?"

Cooking one's own bento lunch typically involves using leftovers from last night's dinner, or quickly making a meal in the morning. Small rolled omelettes, grilled fish, rice balls, hard-boiled eggs, and pickled radishes are commonly seen in a salaryman's bento box.

And it certainly pays off. These small lifestyle changes are saving workers between 20,000 and 30,000 yen a month. Masafumi Ono, a software developer interviewed during the survey, said "I used to eat out all the time, but since I got married and had a child, I have had to be more frugal."

Want to start your own bento box trend where you work? Take a look at some of these bento box packs, or even an automatic rice cooker.

Source: UK Guardian

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