A subscription service allowing consumers to enjoy tasty breads from bakeries across the country has been drawing the attention of foodies and bread enthusiasts in Japan.
Yuabread Inc. based in Kiryu, north of Tokyo, has developed a food-freezing technique to preserve the taste and flavor of freshly baked breads and deliver them regularly to both corporate and individual clients.
The service by the Gunma Prefecture company established in 2017 is intended to connect nationwide bread lovers and small bakeries in the countryside that often face difficulties in attracting customers.
The number of companies subscribing to the program, through which workers can receive breads from artisan bakeries at their offices, has reached 160, and the number of individual subscribers has surpassed 2,000, the service operator said.
Subscribers to the service receive six to 10 types of frozen breads in a box every month.
As of early July, the number of member bakeries stood at 15, stretching across Japan. Featured bakeries in the service rotate monthly, according to the company.
Naoya Tsutsumi, a 33-year-old Yuabread official in charge of the subscription program, pointed out that pouches for breads and the timing of freezing them are key to preserving the freshness of the products.
"(Those frozen breads) are tastier than conventional to-go products as they can retain moisture and the savor of wheat," he said.
The number of service subscribers has increased during the government's stay-at-home request that was in place between April and May over the coronavirus pandemic, but some local bakeries are struggling financially with declines in their sales to hotels and schools, according to Tsutsumi.
"We would like to expand the bread subscription service and support small local bakeries so they will not disappear," he said.