The Spoon team has been in Tokyo this past week for our third SKS Japan conference! This year the theme is Move — that is, how we can leverage technology to move towards a more sustainable, healthy, and collaborative food system, together.

We’ve seen some real growth in our Japan conference. This year there were almost 400 attendees, 180 participating companies, and 60 speakers, over double the numbers from the event’s first year in 2017. These metrics illustrate the exciting potential of the food tech ecosystem in the Japanese market — moving up, indeed.

Here are a few highlights from the conference, including (multiple) cooking robots, augmented dining tech, and lots and lots of delicious food.

The night before SKS Japan was the speaker dinner, where the Suvie kitchen robot made its public debut! Yes, it makes dessert, too.

SKS founder Michael Wolf kicked off the conference with some words on why Japan — and Asia in general — has such an important role to play in forging the future of cooking.

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Morirobo, the crepe making robot at SKS Japan

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We told you — lots of robots. This year’s SKS Japan featured a (rainbow!) crepe-making robot, an onigiri (Japanese rice ball) robot, the Rotimatic, a roti-making kitchen robot, and more. These food-making ‘bots made for some very exciting breaks!

Other cool tech from the conference were Panasonic’s DishCanvas, a plate that can display moving images, Shojinmeat founder Yuki Hanyu’s VR rendering of a Martian lab-grown meat lab, and Cookpad’s unveiling of Oicy, its device that can dispense hard and soft water to suit specific recipes.

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@cookpad_official drawing a crowd at #sksj2019!

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The conversations took a broader focus as well, tackling pressing issues like sustainability, national identity, and more. Here’s a photo from one of the forward-facing discussions from the day, in which Future Food Institute’s Sara Roversi spoke with Ferda Gelegen, the Deputy Head of UNIDO ITPO Japan about how to better grow and consume food in the face of climate change.

The gadgets are certainly cool and the food samples tasty, but the most inspiring part of SKS Japan comes not from the technologies, but the people. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. We’re headed back to Seattle inspired by the passion, energy, and creativity we saw from the SKS Japan attendees and speakers.

来年まで!

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