China Food

How to promote the innovation of consumer products in emergency food under the shadow of natural disasters and war

natural disaster risk promotes Japanese enterprises to further “refine” basic functional emergency food and enter the scene of daily consumption.
Core content
1. Japan’s disaster prevention Food Guide: why does the Japanese government recommend storing food for about a week? 2. Disaster prevention food is perfectly compatible with outdoor scenes. How to make a breakthrough in preservation technology? 3. “Extraordinary food” moves from “extraordinary time” to daily life. How to realize brand innovation? 4. Western food innovation derived from military to civilian.
Recently, the supply chain crisis triggered by the epidemic has led to an upsurge of food hoarding. With the continuous extension of the closure time, the food shortage of Shanghai residents has further contributed to the material anxiety of consumers across the country, and the consumption enthusiasm in many places has been promoted from “hoarding food” to “hoarding freezers”. According to the first financial data, since 2022, the sales volume of high-end refrigerators and freezers with a price of more than 5000 yuan in Suning Tesco has increased by more than 70% year-on-year.
Instant noodles, ham sausage, potato chips, coke and other “junk food” forgotten by the era of “new consumption” have re entered the vision of consumers. In the face of disaster, functional priority, satiety is more important than health or delicious.
△ left figure: on April 15, the wechat search volume of freezers increased by 5.6 times compared with April 11; Right: the search volume of instant noodles wechat on April 17 increased by 8.3 times compared with April 15; Source: wechat
As a “civilization disease”, plague is the result of large-scale social settlement of human beings. In the Paleolithic age, the survival mode was mainly collection and hunting, and the scale of human group was limited to a small community of 30-70 people. This means that even if microorganisms and parasites expand extremely fiercely, they will die out rapidly with the death of their hosts. The transformation from hunting to domestication of animals makes the contact between humans and animals more intensive. The transformation from nomadism to settlement, coupled with the sharp increase in population, has prompted the emergence of large-scale cities, which gives the opportunity for the development and growth of microbial populations, and the birth of large-scale plague.
The advantage of population density lies in high efficiency, whether education is to schools or production efficiency is to enterprises. However, this structure is particularly vulnerable to viruses – plagues often stop in rural areas with extremely dispersed populations. As one of the effective ways to fight the epidemic, avoiding contact determines the importance of supply chain resilience to food supply in special periods.
In the face of supply chain uncertainty, disruptive innovation in agriculture, animal husbandry and logistics technology takes time, and storing emergency food is the top priority. Compared with “disaster prone” Japan, China’s “friendly” natural environment makes “disaster prevention food” nowhere to be found. Out of disaster awareness, Japanese supermarkets usually have “disaster prevention products” in special areas. Therefore, the diversity and universality of disaster prevention food may be of some reference significance to the Chinese market. In addition, the demand for convenience and nutrition from the armed forces of various countries has commercialized many military food innovations and has been used to this day. From climate disasters to wars, “extraordinary food” suitable for extreme environments may open up more room for the growth of Chinese traditional “junk food” brands.
Natural disaster risks give birth to emergency food racetracks,
Rolling inventory promotes the expansion of “extraordinary food” scenario
On September 1, 1923, the Kanto earthquake killed more than 140000 people. Due to the damage of roads, it was difficult to distribute support materials to the victims. Since 1960, September 1 has been designated as “Disaster Prevention Day” (b) by the Japanese government ō Sai no HI), so as to remember major natural disasters such as tsunami and typhoon, conduct exercises and popularize disaster prevention knowledge. Up to now, the government still suggests that Japanese families keep enough food and water reserves for 3-7 days for a long time.
The most recent earthquake with a high death toll occurred in the East Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. Nearly 20000 people died. The emergency relief headquarters purchased and transported necessities by themselves. However, the disaster area is huge, roads are damaged, and the supply capacity of local governments is damaged.
Frequent natural disasters make the awareness of disaster prevention deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Public opinion surveys aimed at understanding the changes in disaster awareness have been conducted all the year round. According to the disaster reduction survey conducted by weather news on 9000 people from February 22 to 27 this year, the average number of days of residents’ food reserves has increased significantly in the past three years. In view of the sharp rise in the number of days of residents’ food reserves for disaster prevention between 2010 and 2012, this may mean that the novel coronavirus crisis is the factor that has the greatest impact on the Japanese people’s awareness of disaster prevention after the East Japan earthquake, The number of days of food reserves for disaster prevention in the epidemic era has far exceeded the average number of days after the East Japan earthquake.
△ the increase in the average reserve days of “extraordinary food” is due to the decrease in “one day” inventory and the increase in “one week” inventory (source: Weather News)
Disaster prevention awareness is closely related to “personal experience” and “disaster risk”. The uneven geographical distribution of data and intergenerational differences show that residents in earthquake affected areas have significantly stronger disaster prevention awareness, and elderly residents over 60 maintain a leading position in “evacuation location awareness” and “inventory awareness”.
In terms of geography, the average number of “extraordinary food” reserve days of residents on the Pacific side is significantly higher than that on the sea of Japan side. Similar to the asylum awareness survey, the East Japan earthquake area and the South China Sea trench earthquake are expected to have a higher number of reserve days.
△ regional differences in average reserve days of “extraordinary food” (source: Weather News)
Intergenerationally, the older the residents are, the more “familiar” the shelters near their families / companies / schools are. This figure accounts for 77% of the people in their 60s and only 61% of the people in their 20s.
△ intergenerational differences in awareness of evacuation sites (source: Weather News)
In addition, compared with the “calm” attitude of the younger generation in their twenties and thirties, residents in their 60s are also far ahead in the average reserve days of “extraordinary food”. However, although the Xinguan virus crisis has generally improved the awareness of food reserves, the changes of consumption behavior of residents over the age of 50 obviously lag behind those under the age of 40. This may be related to the ability to obtain disaster information.
△ intergenerational difference in average reserve days of “extraordinary food” (source: Weather News)
Although more than 60% of the population use “smart phones” as a channel to obtain disaster information, and the utilization rate of “disaster prevention radio”, “computer” and “radio” has decreased year by year, the older the age, the lower the proportion of smart phones, which may be the reason why residents over 50 years old have lagged behind in responding to the epidemic.
△ intergenerational differences in disaster information acquisition sources (source: Weather News)
In the face of environmental changes, the information acquisition ability and sensitivity of Chinese elderly are not better than those of Japanese elderly, so they deserve attention. In addition, although there is no clear data to show the intergenerational differences of Chinese consumers in food reserves, the rich life experience of Chinese people’s grandmothers and great grandmothers provide them with excellent skills to deal with the uncertainty of the supply chain. The survival skills of the young generation who “ignored” in the past are now particularly wise. In fact, the rolling stock method advocated by the Japanese government is exactly the same as the “wisdom” of the Chinese elderly.
According to the disaster food reserve guidelines of the Ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, in view of the fact that the disaster may last for more than a week, the Japanese Government recommends that Japanese families reserve food for the whole family for three days to one week. During the disaster, the road damage mentioned above posed a great challenge to the distribution of materials. Japanese residents realized that relying on the government’s food supply was a huge risk, and it was very important to keep disaster food at home.
However, the full popularization of emergency food means a lot of waste caused by expired food, and the rolling inventory method was born. Rolling inventory method advocates storing food, continuously eating the goods closest to the shelf life, and replenishing them accordingly.
The rolling inventory method has promoted the expansion of the use scenarios of emergency food for disasters – when “extraordinary food” is not limited to “extraordinary time”, when “extraordinary food” needs to be deeply integrated into consumers’ daily life, consumers’ demand for emergency food has far exceeded “functionality”, and the demand for taste and health has further promoted the innovation of Japanese disaster prevention food enterprises in food itself and food packaging.
△ rolling stock (source: Muji)
Packaging technology extends the shelf life,
Diversified “extraordinary food” taking into account health and delicious
The demand for disaster prevention determines the portability of “extraordinary food” on the packaging, and the storage demand determines the unusual shelf life of “extraordinary food”. The daily consumption demand not only determines the balance between delicacy and health of “extraordinary food”, but also makes artificial food additives a potential threat to public health.
Therefore, the application of science and technology provides a period of “tasteless” food storage.
According to the data of Huffington Post in Japan, emergency food can be stored at room temperature with a long shelf life. Emergency food that can be stored for 3 to 5 years has become the mainstream. In addition, the shelf life of food is divided into two categories. “Shelf life” (Japanese: consumption period) means “safe eating period”, while the best shelf life (Japanese: taste period) is “delicious eating period”.
During disasters, hydropower is often difficult to obtain, and it is very necessary for residents to keep drinking water and heat sources on hand. Under normal circumstances, one person’s daily drinking water reserve is 3L. Therefore, the reserve method of 3L x 3 days x number of family members is more common. In addition to the desktop stove and gas bottle, the outdoor compatible multi-functional heating bag without open fire or electrical equipment is also an effective cooking tool. Hot plus multi warm bag heats food and drinking water through the reaction produced by the contact of exothermic agent with water.
Because camping is closely related to survivalism, outdoor equipment with survival performance meets the needs of disaster prevention, and the product use scene can naturally extend from outdoor to “disaster area”. At the same time, the use scene of “extraordinary food” can also shuttle freely between disaster scene and outdoor scene.
△ hot plus multi warm bag, source: Rakuten
Under the condition that drinking water and heat source can be guaranteed, alpha rice (アルファァァァアルファァァアルルょァァァアルファァァァア. The shelf life of Satake’s magic rice and Onishi’s instant rice balls is 5 years, and that of ninben’s instant porridge is up to 6 years. In addition to dehydrated cooked rice, similar carbon water “extraordinary food” also includes dehydrated spaghetti, and SiO’s Italian spiral noodles are ready to eat with water and can be stored for 5 years.
△ picture on the left: rice with five eyes; Right: Weixi おにぎり (source: Rakuten)
△ left figure: おかゆにんべんだしがゆ; Right: そのパスタトマト (source: SiO)
Since the beginning of human food storage, dehydration has been one of the oldest methods. Curing dehydrates meat by adding salt, sugar dehydrates fruit by adding sugar, and dehydration plays an important role in food processing from ham to preserves.
Mankind’s great breakthrough in science and technology has greatly improved its “food dehydration skills”. The wide use of freeze-drying technology in the food industry makes the food preserved for a long time without losing its flavor. Up to now, due to the high price of freeze-drying technology, its application is mostly limited by high value-added products. Common freeze-dried foods include coffee, seasonal fruits, vegetables and snacks.
Because freeze-dried products compress the weight of food to a great extent, which provides great convenience for the army, astronauts and hiking campers, they are widely used in aerospace, war and outdoor scenes.
Although China’s boutique instant coffee is still in the early stage of development, and the coffee produced in stores is generally in line with the consumption habits of coffee consumers, once the uncertainty of the supply chain intensifies, the sales of coffee lyophilized powder may rise sharply as an emergency plan in a special period.
There is no limit to one kind of packaging technology for prolonging the edible period of food. The naxu plateau milk bread of Kanda may hall does not use any preservatives. By adding an appropriate amount of alcohol into the packaging bag, the shelf life of the product is up to 50 days; Sato Zhixue’s super delicious tofu does not contain preservatives. Through aseptic filling technology and soybean milk sterilization technology, the shelf life of the product is up to 120 days; The shelf life of stick ring cake is extended to 5 years through UAA technology.
△ figure on the left: tofu; Right: スティックバウぼクヘン (source: Rakuten, Hoshino)
The duration of the disaster and the penetration of “extraordinary food” in daily life scenes determine the necessity of emergency food to break through the basic functions of satiety, portability and long shelf life – nutrition and delicacy need to be taken into account. Some fish intestines are promoted from “unhealthy food” to functional food by adding calcium to maintain bone and tooth health. The efforts of emergency food supply in terms of nutritional balance are also reflected in the diversity of categories. In the Tokyo bousai disaster preparedness manual, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government suggested that residents should always prepare “extraordinary food” of meat, vegetables and fruits in addition to water and carbohydrates.
△ Tokyo bousai (source: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
Dehydrated rice usually requires water and heat. Although the cooking method of alpha rice is not limited to hot water brewing, the efficiency of soaking in cold water is obviously lower than that in hot water. Kagome’s Canned one-day vegetables are made of 30 kinds of vegetables and can be drunk directly. Although the best shelf life is up to 5.5 years, the product is not added with any sugar, sweetener, salt, flavor or preservative. The “extraordinary food” that can cope with the water shortage also includes the drinking rice of the Agricultural Association, somomanma OK curry of sandoya, and instant porridge of glutinous rice, wheat and corn of hakubaku. Among them, rice, job’s tears and red beans are used to make cereal drinks with a shelf life of 5 years.
△ one copy of wild vegetables a day; Right: drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking and drinking; Source: kagome, misure
Canning is quite common in the packaging of “extraordinary food”. The canned curry boiled mackerel launched by Maruha Nichiro, a Japanese fishery and aquatic food giant, and the canned beef rice launched by Yoshinoya, a national multinational fast food chain. In fact, the little-known Canned Rice, ramen and bread in the Chinese market have also become the mainstream of emergency food.
△ picture on the left: cooking; Right: foufanniu well (source: Maruha Nichiro, Yoshino)
The canned rice of snapper, jointly developed by Guanggong Co., Ltd. and Hiroshima University Hospital, is ready to eat with water (15 minutes of hot water and 60 minutes of cold water). The shelf life of PanCAN, a canned bread of Qiuyuan, is up to 3 years.
△ left: snapper can rice; On the right: the fou cross of アキモトパンの; Source: Hikari, Rakuten
In addition to being portable, easy to store, healthy and delicious, inclusiveness is particularly important because emergency food is for the public and victims have no other commodity choice under special circumstances. At present, many products can be used by allergic people and do not contain 28 specific allergens. Food is more common in the friendly “extraordinary food” of allergic people. In addition, regional culture was also taken into account. Disaster prevention food gradually began to design disaster prevention signs for foreigners and began to launch halal food.
In order to encourage business innovation in the field of disaster prevention food, since 2016, the Japan disaster prevention safety association has held the “disaster food Award” award activity every year. In the disaster food award from April 13 to April 15, 80 projects have been awarded the “disaster food Award” © 2022”。 In addition, the Japan disaster food association has formulated the certification standard of “Japan disaster food”, and the validity period of the certificate is only 5 years, which is equally important to regulate and encourage.
△ left: disaster food reward 2022; Right: Japan disaster food logo (source: Disaster Prevention Safety Association, Japan disaster Food Association)
“Extraordinary food” is often sold in combination. The combination form is either innate – food is bundled at the beginning of delivery, or transformed the day after tomorrow – e-commerce platform merchants sell according to the number of families and storage time, and consumers don’t have to spend energy on matching themselves. The 3-person 3-day “extraordinary food” package Alpine Aire processed by Katadyn, an American freeze-dried food supplier, does not contain synthetic colorants, chemical seasonings or synthetic preservatives, and has a shelf life of up to 10 years. The product has been used in the U.S. military and NASA.
△ left: alpine Aire is very hungry; Right: extraordinary eclipse at 7:00; Source: Hikari, Rakuten
Canned food and instant coffee:
“Military” food meets “civilian” needs
In fact, the link between disaster prevention food and military food is far more than that. Canning technology, which is very popular in emergency food, itself comes from military invention. At the beginning of the Napoleonic War, the French government offered a reward of 12000 francs for cheap and effective food storage solutions. At this time, the limited food supply is one of the factors restricting military operations in summer and autumn. In 1809, Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and winemaker, invented the sealing technology of glass cans. On this basis, Philippe de Girard replaced glass cans with tin cans, transmitted this patent to the UK and sold it several times. At that time, the canning process relied on manpower, the production time was very long, and the high cost made the process difficult to popularize among the people. Its main market was the British army and the Royal Navy.
The demand for canned food soared during World War I, and the army sought large quantities of cheap, high calorie food to feed soldiers. From bull beef, pork and beans to canned sausages, maconochies, Irish stew, British soldiers rely on low-quality canned food to make a living. In 1916, the general dissatisfaction of soldiers with inferior canned food prompted the army to seek better quality food to improve morale, and the “meals-in-a-can” canned food was born. In 1917, the French army began to supply canned French food, coq au vin, bee Bourguignon, French onion soup and vichyssoise, while the Italian Army supplied canned ravioli, spaghetti Bolognese, minestrone and pasta e fagioli.
In the mid-19th century, as a new thing, canned food became a symbol of the status of middle-class families in Europe, and canned technology changed from military scene to civilian scene. The increase in the degree of mechanization of canning processing and the sharp increase in the population of European cities have led to the rising demand for canned food, which further promoted the development of canning technology. By the 1860s, smaller and mechanically manufactured steel cans replaced tin cans, and the time for food cooking and sterilization was reduced from about 6 hours to 30 minutes.
While canned food entered the European market, the demand for canned food in the United States rose sharply during the war. In 1812, Robert Ayars established the first American cannery in New York and used improved tinned cast iron cans to preserve oysters, meat, fruits and vegetables. The large-scale wars in the 19th century, including the Crimean War, the American Civil War and the Franco Prussian War, made canning companies expand their business to meet the growing military needs. At the same time, it also made more and more working class exposed to canned food. This improved the mass production capacity of manufacturing enterprises and laid a foundation for canned food to go to the mass market after the war.
With the increasing demand of urban population for “cheap” and “convenient” food, companies such as Underwood, Nestl é and Heinz began to provide canned food for the working class of urban residents.
Nestl é grew rapidly during World War I and World War II. The Swiss multinational food and beverage processing group, which was merged by Anglo Swiss milk company and farine Lact é e Henri Nestl é in 1905, not only provided canned food for the army, but also became famous as a pioneer in the commercialization of instant coffee. On April 1, 1938, Nescaf é, a soluble coffee product, was launched in Switzerland. Nestl é established a large-scale coffee extraction and “spray drying” coffee bean production line at its factory in orbe, a small Swiss town. In 1965, the company launched another innovative product, freeze-dried instant coffee Nescaf é gold blend.
△ Nestle’s soluble coffee product Nescaf é was launched in Switzerland on April 1, 1938; Source: Nestl é
During World War II, more than three-quarters of the world’s Nescaf é products were consumed in the Swiss, British and American markets, and mass production was driven by the food supply of the US military. In response to this demand, the company established two production plants in the United States in 1943.
It is worth noting that, according to Mintel data, until 2014, the penetration rate of instant coffee in the UK market was still as high as 77%, which was only 1% in Italy, 4% in France and 7% in the United States. Most Britons blame the Americans for this. “It comes from the military grain bags of the American Army during World War II, which is not popular in the coffee culture,” the BBC said in an article. The reasons for the regional differences of instant coffee will not be discussed in depth in this article.
Food innovations derived from military to civilian use also include sliced bread with a shelf life longer than French bread, packaged salad packaged with modified atmosphere technology, and energy bars with small volume and high heat.
The war environment determines the portability and easy storage of military food. In the early stage of industrial society, time-saving and labor-saving cheap food met the consumer demand of the working class under the fast-paced life. As citizens pay more attention to their own health and work life balance, consumers’ enthusiasm for “organic” life expands rapidly. Many “snacks” or “fast food” limited to basic functions are labeled as junk food.
Natural disaster risk promotes Japanese enterprises to further “refine” basic functional emergency food, making “extraordinary food” enter the scene of daily consumption. Compared with war, the duration of uncertainty caused by natural disasters is obviously longer, and emergency has become the norm.
At present, China’s “extraordinary food” market space depends on domestic public security and international political environment. On the premise that the COVID-19 is relatively controllable and international relations are relatively stable, the imported “extraordinary food” supply can temporarily meet the food reserve needs of consumers.

reference material:

[1]ウェザーニュース. 2022. Disaster, disaster, consciousness, awareness of upward refuge, awareness of deliberate awareness, high level of disaster, East Japan earthquake, 2011 [online] Available at:[Accessed 20 April 2022].

[2]Bousai-anzen. com. 2022. Disaster food reward [online] Available at:[Accessed 19 April 2022].

[3]ハフポスト. 2021. [food 実ビュありりのおすすめめめありりのおすすすめめめ気気気気め. Long term storage, prepared food? (full version in 2021) [online] Available at:[Accessed 19 April 2022].

[4]BBC News. 2014. Why do Britons drink so much instant coffee?. [online] Available at:[Accessed 21 April 2022].

Author: Valerie Lin; Source: Kaidu consumer index (ID: Yuanqi capital), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);

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