Japanese Food Companies Responding to Economic, Environmental Issues

Economic woes and environmental issues have received extensive attention from the Japanese food industry again. Many Japanese marketers are taking advantage of this situation as well as the strong yen to market their products, reports the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Nissin Food is the first company that brought instant cup noodles in Styrofoam cups to the marketplace. It is probably an essential item for college students in Japan as well as in the United States. While colleges and universities look for ways to fight against global warming, Nissin Food is helping in this area, too. Nissin Foods announced it will stop using Styrofoam cups and begin using ECO Cups this month. The ECO cups emit less carbon dioxide than Styrofoam cups. ECO cups are higher in costs, but Nissin Foods believes environmental benefits are worth it.

At the same time, another noodle soup manufacturer, Acecook, also announced they will use an environmentally friendly container starting in June. Acecook containers will use material originating from corn and/or potato starch that are easily decomposed by microorganisms found in the ground like our landfills. Acecook is making sure that customers see their new environmental message. The product name is Back to Mother Nature.

Since the rise in global grain prices and a incident recently with frozen Chinese dumplings in Japan, headlines about rising prices and food security are everywhere. Consumers and distributors feel the bite. They are helped by some, but forced to accept reality on other fronts.

With nearly 90 percent of wheat consumed in Japan coming mostly from the United States, Canada and Australia, wheat is a staple food under the law concerning foodstuffs. The central government imports nearly all wheat on its own to ensure a stable supply and sells it to flour mills at set prices. With rice consumption levels continuing to drop, the amount of wheat consumed in Japan is catching up. Flour is used in a large variety of products, including bread, cake, noodles and tempura batter.