The expression kouchuu-choumi is often used when describing Japanese culinary habits. Basically it means mixing flavors in one's mouth. Rice is a staple in Japan and accompanies most meals. The Japanese will often take alternate bites of their rice with their main and side dishes so as to blend the different flavors together while eating. Holding the rice in your mouth as you taste a side dish can accentuate its mild taste, and a mix of carbohydrates and protein in the same bite can also have a synergistic effect on flavor. Japan's culinary culture is truly one of a kind, and it has evolved naturally from the geography's indigenous food resources and centuries of unique eating habits.
Modern dietary habits are changing, however, as people are being more and more tempted by a plethora of fatty and salty food choices. "Food education" seeks to combat this and preserve Japan's traditional dietary culture by teaching people the importance of making healthy and nutritional choices.
The term "food education" first appeared in Japan at the end of the Meiji Era, when the physician Sagen Ishizuka mentioned it in his 1896 publication, "A Chemical Theory of Nutrition on Health and Longevity" (1896). Sagen wrote that the growth and development of a child's physical, mental, and inherent abilities was directly related to good eating habits. In other words, he felt that a nutritional diet at home was the foundation of a child's healthy mind and body.
It has been more than 100 years since Sagen introduced his theories, but they are just as valid today. A healthy food culture is borne on dining room tables throughout the country, and is passed down from one generation to the next.
In order to encourage healthy dietary habits around the world, the MC Group is making use of its unique, "Taste Creator" technologies to develop new food products, ideas, and value. Product R&D is underway in numerous dietary fields, including sugar alcohols like maltitol and sorbitol, seasonings made from fish, animal, plant, and other naturally derived ingredients, health foods made from yeast, and other food materials.
By providing customers with safe and secure products and services, the MC Group will continue to do its part to realize healthy future societies, where the foods we eat are delicious, nutritious, and plentiful.
Article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of March 17, 2013