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Warning to the Western Food Industry: Innovate or Fall Behind

USA and Europe, beware!

As we reflect on our recent experience at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, a clear and concerning trend has emerged. Despite the global food crisis and the pressing need for innovation in the food and beverage industry, the Western world appears sluggish in its response compared to its Asian counterparts. This observation is not just anecdotal but is supported by the stark contrast in engagement and interest we witnessed firsthand.

At CES 2024, over 90% of our prospects were from Asia, with a staggering 80% hailing from Japan. This overwhelming interest from the East, juxtaposed against the sparse engagement from Western companies, signals a troubling complacency in the West. apart from a very few, standing out as notable exceptions, but they are just players in a vast industry that seems to be resting on its laurels.

The PDA Effect: A Tale of Two Mindsets

I call this disparity the "PDA Effect," inspired by a personal anecdote from my university days. While using a Psion PDA to take notes during a meeting, a European professor dismissed my actions, perceiving the device as a toy rather than a tool. In stark contrast, a Japanese colleague recognized the utility and innovation behind using a digital assistant for note-taking. This difference in attitude towards technological adoption and innovation is reflective of a broader cultural divide that still exists today.

A Reluctance to Innovate

This reluctance to innovate in the Western food and beverage industry is particularly concerning given the strategic importance of food and drink in our daily lives. In the face of climate change, population growth, and resource scarcity, the need for efficient, innovative solutions in food production has never been more critical. Yet, Western stakeholders seem hesitant to embrace the potential of software tools and AI-driven solutions to enhance sensory means and optimize production processes.

The Japanese Example

Japan, on the other hand, exemplifies how embracing innovation can lead to significant advancements. Japanese companies are not just open to, but actively seeking out, cutting-edge technologies to stay ahead in the competitive food market. This proactive approach is evident in their substantial presence at international tech events like CES and their rapid adoption of AI and sensory analysis tools.

The Gastrograph Case

We see similar trends with companies like Gastrograph, which, despite their Western roots, are finding more traction and openness in Japan. The Japanese market's receptivity to new technologies starkly contrasts with the hesitant and often skeptical approach observed in Western markets.

The Danger of Complacency

The Western food and beverage industry must recognize that ignoring innovation is not just a missed opportunity but a strategic risk. Food security and sustainability are paramount, and the industry must adapt to new technologies to meet these challenges effectively. Failure to do so could lead to being outpaced by more agile and innovative markets, particularly in Asia.

Call to Action

We urge stakeholders in the Western food and beverage industry to come to their senses and embrace the future. The adoption of innovative technologies, such as those offered by Ajinomatrix, is not a luxury but a necessity. By integrating advanced sensory analysis and AI-driven tools, the industry can enhance product development, ensure sustainability, and maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market.

In conclusion, the food crisis demands a proactive and innovative response. The Western world must look to the East's example and recognize the critical importance of embracing technological advancements in food production. The time to act is now, and the cost of inaction could be far greater than we can afford.

Stay ahead, innovate, and secure the future of food.

We invite industry leaders and stakeholders to join us in this essential journey towards innovation and sustainability. Let's not allow complacency to dictate our future.


The Ajinomatrix Team



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