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“Canned Bread,” recognized by NASA, good news for natural disaster victims

6, 23. 2009

   Three-year-old bread tastes just like the right-out-of-oven bread. The "canned bread," made and sold by Pan Akimoto Co., based in Tochigi Prefecture, is gaining the popularity for use in outdoor activities and for preservation for emergency. The annual sales of the product reach 2 million cans. The preservability and other characteristics of the canned bread were cognized by Nasa, and it was as a food supply by the Space Shuttle Discovery, of which the crew included Iwata, on its mission.

Right-out-of-oven freshness after 3 years

Canned Bread sent to Sumatra, Leyte and other disaster-hit areas overseas
Canned Bread sent to Sumatra, Leyte and other disaster-hit areas overseas
Canned Bread made specially to mark the use by the Space Shuttle
Canned Bread made specially to mark the use by the Space Shuttle

   The secret of the popularity of the bread is that it gives the "soft and moist" taste as if it has just come out of the oven though the bread is made for preservation good for three years. Baked by the company's own unique method, the bread has the textures and taste that can be compared to that of fresh ordinary bread. It may also be the factor for the popularity that the canned bread comes in a line of 14 different varieties of tastes and textures, including a milk-cream taste and grainy texture.

   The company started to develop such canned bread in answer to the desire expressed by the victims of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. The staff of the company who brought 2,000 loaves of bread to the disaster-hit area in Kobe faced the unexpected problem.

   "We went through many troubles to bring the bread, but most of it was rotten before eaten. It took too much time to bring it through to the area. Besides that, the disaster-hit places were in such a turmoil that it was impossible to distribute the bread," said Nobuhiko Akimoto, the head of the management planning room of the company.

   The company at first conducted a research about the preservability in response to the desire of the disaster victims who said they wanted bread like the dried biscuit that could be kept without changing the taste. One year later, in 1996, the company succeeded through many trials in the unprecedented method of canning the bread as it was. It is the company's own technology to put the dough in a can to bake and keep it germ- and oxygen-free. The technology has already been patented in Japan and the United States.

   The canned bread was conveniently used as part of the food and other relief supplies at the time of the Chuetsu earthquake in Niigata Prefecture in 2004. Recently, it gained popularity also as a gift.

   "In the future, we will maintain close contacts with municipal governments, and, at the same time, efforts will be made to expand the sale in Taiwan, the United States and other overseas areas," Akimoto said.

   The canned bread is available at supermarkets and other retail shops across Japan. It can also be purchased through shopping website. The retail price is around 400 yen for a 100-gram can.

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