Although mochi is still hand-pounded for the holidays, most of the pure white mochi found in Japanese supermarkets and Oriental foods stores in the United States is squeezed through a modern grinder/extruder. Pounding mochi is backbreaking work, but mochi produced this way is significantly better tasting than the extruded product. What's more, some traditionalists feel extruded mochi lacks the healing qualities of the traditional pounded variety. Also, conventional mochi makers actually cook their products in the package rather than cooking before packaging and than pasteurizing. According to traditionalists, this makes a difference in taste and digestibility of mochi.
Fortunately, there are a few small mochi makers that combine the quality of pounding with the convenience of automation. One of these is Nobuyuki Kojima, maker of Mitoku Company's sweet brown rice mochi.