As in most other areas, the packaged foods business in Japan operates according to its own concepts of how things should be. It’s evidenced in the banks of vending machines that adorn most any streetscape and provide convenient, 24 hour access to drinks, mostly, other consumables and a few more interesting products. It underpins the delivery strategy of 7-11 and its convenience store competitors, to which fleets of small vans deliver freshly prepared meals and snacks to city outlets several times a day, guaranteeing customers fresh take-out food. It’s in the packaging design on store shelves, exemplified by tubs of yoghurt that contain a folding plastic spoon concealed within the lid or onigiri with origami-like peel-away wrapping that separates the nori shell from the rice to maintain its crispness. And it’s expressed in the service, of, for instance, depato food hall staff, who add dry ice to your purchase of yoghurt or ice cream so that it won’t spoil before you get it home.

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