Once Only Space and Survival Foods Now Convenience Store Snacks
Freeze-dried foods in Japan
According to a well-written article on the subject, "freeze-drying technology was originally developed for the production of medicine and is probably best-known among consumers for its use in instant coffee. But the concept of selling individual, freeze-dried blocks of food, from which a full meal can be quickly and easily prepared simply by adding hot water, has been taken farther in Japan than it has overseas, where freeze-dried products appear most often in the form of lightweight meals for camping." (cut-and-pasted from: http://www.nippon.com/en/features/c00621/)
Although they've been around for sale since at least 2013, I didn't really notice them until last year, when I had extra change in my pocket that I wanted to get rid of. I'm talking about freeze-dried soups, of which an incredible variety are now available at most convenience and food stores. Once limited to miso soup options, now - for about 200 yen a pop - you can dine alsob on freeze-dried noodles, egg drop soups, beef stews and stroganoffs, and risottos.
They're absolutely great because they're so awfully convenient. All you need is hot water and a spoon! Freeze-dried foods can (and should) be added to your home and office emergency kits, but can also be used for everyday meals and activities such as camping and picnics.
I prefer them to other instant soups and meals because 1) they're and more portable, 2) they waste less materials, and 3) they taste better! I like to mix and match, you can come up with some incredible combinations.
There are even shops devoted to creating your own freeze-dried soups: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/01/12/this-cool-freeze-dried-food-shop-lets-you-customize-your-own-unique-miso-soup/
If you haven't tried one, I highly suggest you do - you'll be surprised how much flavour you can pack in a brick so small!
For more on the subject, check out:
Former Deep Japan Writer