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The Most Popular Sushi, The Rise of Salmon, Ikura's Name

The top 10 most popular sushi and the rise of salmon.

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The Most Popular Sushi, The Rise of Salmon, Ikura's Name

In a survey about Conveyor Belt Sushi in Japan by Maruha Nichiro, people responded with the types of sushi they ate frequently at conveyor belt sushi. The survey was conducted in March 2021 online with 3000 people ages 15-59 who go to conveyor belt sushi at least once a month.

The following table displays the results. The percentage is the percentage of people who indicated that they "often" ate the particular kind of sushi (よく食べているネタ).

Most Popular Sushi at Conveyor Belt Sushi

Salmon, Maguro (akami), Hamachi/Buri, Maguro (chutoro), Ebi
Negitoro, Ika, Engawa, Ikura, Amaebi

Salmon's Rise

Seeing Salmon at the top would've been unexpected many decades ago, but it all changed thanks to what I call "Norwegians on a mission."

Great Big Story has a short video about the history:

From Planet Money:

He went to a company called Nishi Rei. He'd been talking to them for a few years. Everybody in Japan knows them. They sell frozen food - dumplings, chicken nuggets, squid. Bjorn told them, I will sell you 5,000 tons of salmon for cheap. All you have to do is sell it in the grocery stores as sushi; just try it. Nishi Rei said yes. Bjorn had his deal.
Once Nishi Rei started selling salmon for sushi, it somehow seemed more normal.

Ikura's Name

It's also worth noting that the name "ikura" comes from Russian.

From Wikipedia:

Red caviar is part of Russian and Japanese cuisine. In Japan, salmon caviar is known as ikura which derives from Russian word икра (ikra) which means caviar or fish roe in general.