Seeking “Values that Only Foodservice Can Provide”
A comprehensive exhibition for the foodservice industry, Takase Foodservice Expo 2014 (hosted by Takase Bussan Co., Ltd., of Chuo-ku, Tokyo) was held for two days on June 10 and 11 in the exhibition hall of the Tokyo International Forum. “Specialite: Specialty Values that Only Foodservice Can Provide” was set as a theme of the exhibition. Having been organized once every other year, nearly 220 companies (about 330 booths) from all over Japan presented a total of more than 10,000 food products at the event.
A Long Queue at the Opening
Mr. Tomoyasu Takase, the president and representative director of Takase Bussan, made a welcome speech at the opening ceremony held prior to the actual opening. “I would like to propose not only delicious, affordable food but also a new value that people can experience only when they eat out. I’ll do my best to contribute all I can to the foodservice industry,” he said.
Authentic Ingredients and Lively Business Talk
The exhibition hall was packed with 330 booths, and each company presented its signature ingredient and dish with samples for tasting. The special booth occupied by the host, Takase Bussan, drew the attention of visitors with various clever menus such as the original domestic wine, “Super food (menus to energize the body),” carefully selected products from Hokkaido, menus for the current boom in bars, and desserts using liqueurs.
Slightly unconventional was a mashed-potato dispenser presented by Nestlé Japan (Chuo-ku, Kobe). Many visitors stopped to watch the machine produce creamy, fresh mashed potatoes just with a press of a button.
Moreover, elements to characterize the expo were many value-added, upscale ingredients that were prepared in accordance with the theme of the expo (Values that Only Foodservice Can Provide). Various processed-meat products offered by Fratelli Beretta, an Italian company that formed a business alliance with Takase Bussan this month, were representative of such elements. The dense flavor of well-aged prosciutto and salami impressed the visitors who stopped by for tasting.
Visitors were also strongly motivated to find ingredients that might lead to a hit menu or that are utilized in their restaurants. Every booth seemed to have a visitor who was engaged in an intense conversation with the operator of the space.
Presence of a Celebrity Chef
There were other performances such as a cooking demonstration by a celebrity chef and a lecture by a famous foodservice entrepreneur, thus attracting the attention of visitors who were eager for such a rare opportunity.
Visitors particularly admired the demonstration of making “ice-cream combination dessert” by Mr. Roger Van Damme, the Belgian maestro of desserts who was recognized as the Chef of the Year by GaultMillau (the most influential restaurant guidebook in France) in 2010. Furthermore, the booth was extremely popular, since a limited number of the ingredients used for the demonstration were offered for tasting. It seemed that those foodies were more than satisfied with the offerings.
Further Vitalization of the Foodservice Industry
The foodservice industry has faced difficulties, including higher ingredient prices due to the depreciation of yen starting last year and rising costs of energy and labor. Also, consumers’ needs change year after year as seen in the boom of pancakes and Spanish bars that target a young female audience.
Tackling such needs is a challenge faced by the entire industry. However, as the foodservice exhibition was aiming at “creating new value,” there was a passion in the convention hall that was sure to spark a boom in activity.