Natural Food -Audition to Discover New Recipes-
With rising interest in health, and growing numbers of foreign visitors to Japan, food needs are diversifying into areas such as organic ingredients, and glutenfree and vegan items. This trend is expected to accelerate, and demand for ingredient development and recipe ideas is rising rapidly, as the food service industry is under pressure to meet these needs.
The Executive Secretariat of the event says “The aims of this event are to boost the natural foods market and raise the quality of natural food products. This is an unprecedented new initiative to use natural food recipes to link cooks with companies”.
Entries are requested in the two fi elds of main dishes and sweets, and there are the following six screening criteria:  Originality,  How natural ingredients are used,  Finished appearance (photogenic appeal),  Nutritional balance,  Unit price and costs, and  Balance of flavors.
The Secretariat also says “We are looking for this audition to lead to commercial product development and media coverage of superior recipes, so the screening judges are top players in retailing, dining, and the media, and are familiar with natural foods. Other than the Grand Prix, there will be a “Popular Recipe Award” picked by HCJ visitors, and we want that to encourage buyers and others to taste the recipes, and to generate opportunities for trade negotiations”.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will have a major impact on this kind of culinary environment surrounding natural foods. Standards for foods for the athlete’s villages and stadiums for London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 incorporated measures to prioritize procurement of organic foods, and Tokyo is very likely to follow those precedents.
The basic plan for the Tokyo Olympics calls for the use of “sustainable and environmentfriendly foods”. Momentum is also growing for expanded production of organic produce that does not use chemical fertilizers or agrochemicals. However, Japan’s domestic organic production is still on a very small scale, and experts point out that the situation requires urgent and concerted effort by government and the private sector. Expectations are rising for the Tokyo Olympics to serve as a primer for the natural foods industry