Tagajo, Miyagi Pref. – A company in Miyagi Prefecture is enjoying increasing demand for jelly-type emergency food it developed based on input from people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
An increasing number of municipalities are beginning to stockpile the jelly packs, which last for more than five years at room temperature, so that they can provide them to children and elderly people at evacuation centers in the event of emergency.
The products, named Life Stock, were developed by Onetable Inc., based in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the prefectures in the Tohoku region hit hardest by the 2011 disaster.
The products are also considered good for use as emergency supplies during floods and other natural disasters, which have occurred frequently in the country in recent years.
The products, which do not need to be cooked, are designed to help people stay hydrated and take in sugar. One of the two varieties, with its apple and carrot flavor, is nutritionally balanced, while the other, which comes in grape and pear flavors, gives an energy boost with some 200 kilocalories per pack.
Masayuki Shimada, the 37-year-old president of the company, started developing the products based on his experience of the March 2011 disaster.
He thought it would be difficult for older people to eat hard, dry biscuits stockpiled at evacuation centers. He also thought that most emergency food supplies were rich in carbohydrates but not nutritionally balanced.
Using special packaging and other technologies developed in cooperation with partner companies, Onetable succeeded in developing the products, which can be stored for up to 65 months without refrigeration.
“We put huge emphasis on the easy-to-eat feature, allowing evacuees to eat quickly even when they’re exhausted,” said Shiho Shimoyama, a 36-year-old employee of Onetable.
“We want our products to be used together with other stockpiled foods,” she added.
Since the products were launched in September last year, the company has sold them to 20 municipalities, mainly in the Tohoku and Kyushu regions, as well as companies and medical facilities.
Demand from individuals is also increasing, the company said.
The city of Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, also in Tohoku, replaced some of its stockpiled instant rice products, which require water to cook, with some 1,900 Life Stock jelly packs in August this year.
The jellies were introduced for use “in the event of a water supply disruption,” a Sakata official said.
The town of Kunimi, Fukushima Prefecture, in Tohoku, decided to stock the jellies, which allow calories and nutrition to be obtained easily.
In view of recent rain-related disasters, Onetable started making sets of four jelly packs wrapped in plastic packaging, because cardboard boxes can easily be destroyed by floods.
“We hope to improve our products further by learning from recent disasters,” Shimoyama said.
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