Japan’s food bolstered in Singapore

Kyodo

More than 200 companies are showcasing Japanese food and beverages at this year’s “Oishii Japan” food exhibition that opened Thursday in Singapore to promote Japanese products and seek business opportunities in Southeast Asia.

Food and food-related companies from 26 prefectures are taking part in the three-day exhibition, which was launched last year and showcases not only food and beverages but also services and technology for food production.

This year, organizers expect 6,000 visitors, up from 5,000 last year, when food lovers from over 20 countries visited.

There are some 230 exhibitors, of which more than 90 percent are from Japan, mostly Japanese companies but also some prefectural governments and trade associations.

” ‘Oishii Japan’ aims to be a platform to bring together industry players who are keen to tap on the increasing popularity of Japanese food and beverages. It also helps to foster new collaborations for international cuisine,” said Masanao Nishida, director of the event.

In Singapore alone, the number of Japanese restaurants has jumped to nearly 900 from 180 over the last five years.

One of the biggest exhibitors is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which has a pavilion at the exhibition and will present a series of cooking demonstrations, food tasting and workshops. Other exhibitors include the Ehime Prefectural Government, the city of Kumamoto and the Japan Livestock Industry Association.

“We launched ‘Oishii Japan’ in Singapore because Singaporeans are well-known as food-lovers, and Singapore, as a food haven, will help promote the use of Japanese food ingredients in not only Japanese cuisine but also in other international cuisine,” Nishida said.

Officials at the exhibition said there are now over 55,000 Japanese restaurants around the world, more than double what there was a decade ago.

According to Nishida, “The ASEAN market has become more important to the Japanese F&B business in recent years. This is due to an increase in middle-class households and higher spending power of consumers, therefore turning this region into an attractive market for Japanese companies.”

Three of Japan’s leading ramen chefs will be serving their signature and special dishes throughout the event.

Nishida said “Oishii Japan” not only aims at introducing less-common Japanese brands to visitors, but also serves as a platform for Japanese food-lovers to gain a better understanding of what Japan has to offer in the way of culinary experiences.

Ten leading food machinery companies are displaying the latest food and beverage equipment and technology for food processing and related operations to raise productivity and efficiency.

Visitors will be able to see conveyor ovens that preserve the food’s natural flavors, and noodle-making machines that replicate the technique to produce hand-made noodles.

The Japan Food Machinery Manufacturers’ Association is also making its debut this year, and is eyeing business ties with regional industry players.