Journalism can sometimes be a tough gig, and my mettle was totally tested today when I bravely scarfed my way through a mountain of free samples at Foodex Japan 2010 in pursuit of the latest trends in Japan’s food and drinks industry. One of Asia’s largest food and drinks fair, Foodex is the go-to event for Japanese and foreign companies to network and show off their products . . . and for journalists to sample their wares.
The biggest queues at the show seemed to be for the Charmy Snow Ice booth, a Taiwanese company, Charmy make a peculiar kind of ice cream that looks a bit like cotton candy and tastes incredibly sweet. Charmy launched in Japan in 2008 but other companies, such as Kinokuni Gelato and Kita no Watayuki, are also getting in on the action with similar products. We’re expecting to see more and more franchises of Charmy et. al opening up across Japan in the coming year. Judging by the shocking pink signs, the target consumers of snow ice are teenage girls with a sweet tooth.
For those of us who are a little more wary of piling on the pounds, Soycom Ltd. have launched a range of doughnuts made with soybean flour in healthy pumpkin, spinach and ginseng flavours. Instead of being deep fried, these donuts are baked for extra healthiness, however, after sampling these low-fat numbers, I wasn’t quite ready to kick my Mr. Donut habit.
Soybeans are definitely the versatile ingredient du jour; there was even a healthy coffee on display made from smoked green soybeans made by Ryokokushoji Co. that’s due to be released on the market in April.
Also popular, though obviously not as an ingredient, was the legendary samarai leader Sakamoto Ryoma, whose famous image could be seen gracing packets of curry. Ryoma Legend Curry was launched in December last year obviously to cash in on the NHK series “Ryomaden.” Elsewhere, Sakamoto was being used to promote Sasebo Burgers and an actor dressed up as the atypical samurai was tasked with handing out leaflets advertising the chain. Wonder who gets all the merchandising money?
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