Posts Tagged ‘foodex’

Photo report: FOODEX Japan 2013

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

FoodEx is the largest trade exhibition for food and drinks in Asia, with about 70,000 visitors checking out the products presented by hundreds of participating companies. I was lucky to enter as press; otherwise, visitors must be affiliated with the food industry — and pay ¥5,000 — to enter.

The FoodEx menu is global, including everything from  cherry beer from Germany and premium Mexican tequila to top-class French and Chinese dumplings. The event was a rare chance to try out both well-known and exotic foods and even see professionals making them.

In addition to booths offering traditional Japanese favorites such as udon and maguro sashimi, there were plenty of innovative twists, such as dorayaki, a sweet snack made of two pancakes and a red-bean filling, that came in coffee and tomato flavors.

While I was there I was lucky to catch the World Sushi Cup Japan 2013, where top chefs from around the world were competing … and presenting a wide range of styles that you would not normally see in Japan, like the flower makizushi above.

You want that green tea to go?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Twist, shake and drink: Karatsuya's bottles of Marugoto Rokucha Benifuuki come with tea powder in the cap

Hot black tea may be the ultimate make-anywhere beverage — what’s easier to carry than a tea bag? But green tea is almost always made in Japan from loose tea, the leaves either dried for basic rokucha or powdered as matcha. This requires a small pot with a filter, or, at the least, a mesh strainer. As the centerpiece of the tea ceremony, matcha usually comes packaged in a pretty – but not particularly pocket-friendly tin. Don’t tell the nice lady who taught you about the traditional tea ceremony, but there’s a movement afoot for tea that is shaken, not stirred.

Some new kinda kick: Green Tea Espresso from Birouen

Manufacturers at this year’s international food trade show Foodex had a few solutions for making fresh green tea on the go. Green Tea Espresso, on shelves this spring, comes in six single-serving envelopes of intense powdered tea packaged in a plastic cup with a domed lid, a cross between a coffee cup and a martini shaker. Shake a packet of the powder with some milk and ice, and you’re good to go.  Don’t expect the syrupy green tea latte you find in convenience stores or coffee chains – this stuff has a bitter kick. “Just like only a small percentage of coffee drinkers like espresso, we only expect a small percentage of people who like green tea to like this,” said a Birouen rep as he whipped up a batch at Foodex. “But those who like it, really like it.”

Karatsuya has another shake-and-go tea option that’s a little milder. Despite the delicate sakura petals on the bottle, Marugoto Rokucha Benifuuki [whole leaf benifuuki tea] has just a touch of a chem-lab feel to it. It’s a bottle of spring water from Kirishima in Kyushu with a dose of powdered green tea sealed into the cap. A strong twist releases the powder into the bottle. Shake and drink for dark, cold green tea that’s always freshly made. The company claims that using the entire leaf doesn’t waste the vitamins, fiber and allergy-fighting properties that get left behind in brewed tea. To combat hangovers, another type has liquid turmeric extract (ukon) in the lid.

Sukidaccha's pen-like containers for powdered tea

The Sukidaccha portable tea containers look like fat magic markers, but they’re actually is filled with powdered tea, which can be release via a soft rubber opening. One pen can hold enough powdered tea for about 24 cups. It comes in a variety of teas, such as oolong and rooibos. The container can be bought by retailers in lots starting at 500 units and filled and decorated as they like, so keep an eye out for pens with original decorations and fillings.

A representative from Asahara Manufacturing pointed out that it doesn’t have to be used just for Japan’s most traditional drink. In addition to various powdered beverages (caramel hot cocoa, for example), he said it will be sold filled with spicy wasabi salt by Tamuraya. Just be careful not to mix it up with the tea, OK?

Click for more treats from Foodex 2011 …

Foodex Japan 2010: new snacks

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

IMG_8714 [Desktop Resolution]

A pair of Miss Peach promotion girls take a stroll at Foodex Japan 2010

Our second look at Foodex Japan 2010 is a round-up of exciting new products we found on display there, some of which were being previewed prior to release.

These biscuits were made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of taikyaki

The medetai biscuits, celebrating the 100th anniversary of taikyaki

About to hit the market this month are Ginbis’ Medetai biscuits. The fish shaped biscuits were created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Taiyaki, the name being a play on the words medotou (congratulations) and taiyaki (the name of the fish shaped snack). Coming in white and plain chocolate flavors, the biscuits were delicious, though I was a little disappointed to discover that there wasn’t any of the yummy filling that is common in original taiyaki.

Also previewed were Moomin brand biscuits from Hokka, which are due out at the end of the month. Given the popularity of Moomin characters, these biscuits are bound to get gobbled up.

Ronga Food's crepe stick

Ronga Food's Crepe Stick: "Cool & Sweet"

In terms of innovation, Ronga Food’s Crepe Stick which was released March 1, was head and shoulders above the competition. Sweet crepes are hugely popular in Japan, with shops selling the freshly made version enjoying massive queues; Ronga have cleverly adapted the snack into a convenience store food format similar to the popular umaibo.

Another smart innovation came from Yaokin who released their crushed pretzel snack a couple of weeks ago. Pretzels are a relatively new snack to Japan and this is the first time I’ve seen the pretzel in this broken format.

Foodex Japan 2010: trends

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

The reception crew of Foodex Japan 2010

The reception crew of Foodex Japan 2010

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.

Snow Ice has an unusual consistency

Snow Ice has an unusual consistency

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.

Soybean donuts are healthy but they didn't set my taste buds on fire

Soybean doughnuts are definitely healthy, but they didn’t set my taste buds on fire

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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