What is the thought behind Toro?

a photo of Toro block
Marbled toro block

Toro salmon, Toro Katsuo, Toro Sawara, Toro saba, Buri toro, Beni toro, and Toro, the original maguro, have all been added to the list, and the number of fish calling themselves Toro, other than maguro, is increasing.

In other words, the word Toro is becoming increasingly generic.

Anyone who has endured the advertising onslaught of the modern era knows that word “toro” always seems to make its way into marketing materials. The word is meant to convey a luxury ingredient, and the “gotta-eat-it” mentality that drives sales.

For example, Toro saba (Saba means ‘mackerel’) is a fatty mackerel. Speaking of fatty mackerel in Japan, the first thing that comes to mind is Norwegian mackerel (Atlantic mackerel). It was once criticized for being too fatty for some unintelligible reason.

In Norway, the amount of mackerel that can be caught in a year is strictly regulated by each fishing boat, so they only catch mackerel when it is fatty and the price is high. Japanese chub mackerel has a peak fat content of 20-25%, while Norwegian mackerel has a peak fat content of 25-30%.

When we looked at the Norwegian Seafood Council’s website to confirm this fact, strangely enough, they do not use a single word Toro mackerel.

The term “fatty” is often used to describe the meat and taste of the fish. This term, of course, implies a high fat content, but the real message we wanted to convey was supposed to be “tasty”. This is because fat contains many flavor compounds. However, literally fatty fish is appreciated and it has become a first-class citizen.

The increase in fatty farmed fish and imported fish such as Northern mackerel may have played a role in this trend, and at the bottom of it all, as with the Toro worship of tuna, there has been a major shift in Japanese eating habits in the postwar period.

In this naming, we cannot help but feel the commercial spirit and skill of the company, which has successfully turned what could be a disadvantage into an advantage by combining changing tastes with the sense of luxury that the word “Toro” possesses.

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We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: February 15, 2023

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