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Food as a ‘connector’ between people

14 1 0

Fall is often called “the best season for food” or literally “the time of the year when we have a big appetite,” because many foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables ripen, ready for harvest.

Japanese cuisine (washoku) has come to be perceived internationally as being healthy with its fresh ingredients, simple cooking and well-balanced nutrition, as recognized by the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Many visitors from overseas select Japanese food as one of the most appealing items that the country has to offer.

But are we making the best of our tradition concerning food? Not quite. Food waste has become recognized as such a serious problem in Japan that legislation has been passed to designate October as the month to reduce food waste. Several nonprofit organizations, such as Second Harvest Japan, are addressing this issue by distributing food that is still good but close to its expiration date.

Meanwhile, cloud technology to store and process data from different sources, integration of different data sets and real-time matching of demand and supply have enabled the development and evolution of new projects and initiatives in the food sector. The number of startups in the food sector, capitalizing on the technological advance, has mushroomed in the past few years, according to the organizer of Smart Kitchen Summit, a major international conference on the future of food and food technology, whose 2019 edition was held in Japan.

I would like to propose the concept of food as a “connector” — as the core concept around a variety of services and initiatives. The reasons include the following: 1) the positioning of food as a connector makes it easy for ordinary people to understand many seemingly separate........

© The Japan Times