Reading Butter cake creaming method reminded me of something I was taught in school, more years ago than I care to admit, but long enough ago to make it relevant... In many Asian cultures having a refrigerator was (at the time) 'rare'. Not for lack of infrastructure (electricity) or due to economic circumstances but culturally people in Japan (if I recall correctly) preferred to go to market daily and get whatever they needed fresh. Is this still the case?

2 Answers 2


The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture says household ownership of refrigerators in Japan in 2008 was 99.6%, so I would guess no.

Here's the data in an excel file.

It's worth noting that lower income countries in Asia have significantly lower numbers, but your question specifies reasons unrelated to wealth. High income Asian country households overwhelmingly own refrigerators.

Microwave Ovens, on the other hand, do seem to follow a pattern only loosely based on income.

None of this is to suggest that people in Japan don't do their purchasing in the manner you suggest. They might just use their fridges for other things, like keeping drinks cold.

  • Interesting data, thanks. I notice that they seem to classify entire nations based on (I'm guessing) 'average income'... would be interesting to see the break downs for India and China by income.
    – Cos Callis
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:22
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    @Cos Callis actually there's an entire studies on this kind of thing: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40953-017-0084-5 I don't have access to the full report though.
    – Wolfgang
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:47
  • Anecdotal evidence only, but when I was studying in Japan I noticed a correlation between having a car/motorbike/scooter and shopping frequency. How often someone shopped depended more on how much they could carry home at a time than the size of the refrigerator. There are also a number of things that americans tend to keep in the refrigerator that Japanese people don't (mayonnaise, jam, etc) which frees up fridge space for truly perishable items (raw fish/meat, certain fruits/veggies, etc.).
    – senschen
    Aug 23, 2017 at 11:42

In Japan more than other Countries. Many lady's in Japan do enjoy there shopping group. 3 or 4 in a group that shop together every day. Mine in the Philippines pulls this about once a week. With the neighbor lady. Watch the kids while we go shopping for a few hours. Neighbor lady always gives me a big smile when they pull this. We have a large fridge & shop together every Monday. So no need for this. In Asia refrigerators are often small by U.S. standards. So need to shop every 2nd to 3rd day. Many have a U.S. student size one. You find apliances are smaller in Asia for the most part. Then were I live there is the over 50% who do not yet have electric. But that is not in Japan. But Japan does have electric restiction's. So size matters here. Think small size for most in Asia. So shop more often there.

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