Topic② Food education activities to support children’s mental and physical health through their diets
Material Issues: Mental and Physical Health Support for Children
Mental and physical health begins at the table
The dietary environment encompassing Japan’s children today is undergoing major changes, with children now skipping breakfast, eating an unbalanced diet, and having fewer opportunities to share meals with family, friends, and others. These changes have led to growing concerns over the potential negative impact on the mental and physical health of children, including weakened interpersonal relationships and a lack of knowledge and experience.
Supporting the ability of children to think and live to their fullest
The table where people gather to eat is an important place to support health, not only through meals, but also in the fostering of social interaction and the creation of rich minds. With the hope of supporting the mental and physical health of children, and contributing to their future success by supporting their ability to think and live to their fullest, the Kewpie Group is working together with like-minded organizations to promote food education activities for these children.
Initiatives to support children’s mental and physical health
Participatory events full of smiles and discoveries
Mayo Terrace in Chofu City, Tokyo is a hands-on facility where visitors can experience a real feel for eating in a fun setting. We have provided two examples of events sure to produce smiles at Mayo Terrace.
Events where children aged 3-6 years can make mayonnaise-based sauces
Eating and enjoying vegetables from an early age!
At these events, children can try to make different types of sauces using mayonnaise and then enjoy them with vegetables. Making the sauces themselves builds confidence and the idea that eating can be fun.
The children have been known to say things such as “the vegetables were so delicious” while the parents have said “I’ve never seen them eat vegetables like this before.”
Events teaching how to best use baby food for babies that are just weaning
We want families with infants to experience less stress and enjoy child rearing!
It’s important to be very careful with food when a baby eats for the first time. We believe that the right knowledge regarding baby food and food for babies that are weaning can eliminate worries over food and contribute to the parents spending more time happily communicating with their children. The event has proven very popular, with parents bringing their infants also forming their own support network.
An attractive Open Kitchen tour that’s a feast for the eyes
Based on the idea of the plant being an extension of a kitchen, the Kewpie plant tour is called an “Open Kitchen” tour. First launched as part of a social studies field trip for elementary school students, there are now five plants around the country offering these Open Kitchen tours. The tours have proven very popular with children and adults, as they can not only see the production of safe and reliable products, but can also learn more about vegetables and food, attend child-rearing support events, as well as free research events during the summer vacation from school.
Together with local communities, Kewpie supports the creation of spaces where children can feel at home and food education activities
In 2017, the Kewpie Group established the Kewpie Mirai Tamago Foundation to advance the Group’s unique initiatives on this front and support organizations that share our philosophy about food, as a way of giving back to society that surpasses what a single company can do alone.
The Kewpie Mirai Tamago Foundation is focused in particular on supporting organizations that provide food education activities and create spaces where children can feel at home.
Children’s cafeterias are becoming increasingly common as places where multiple generations in a community can interact. In addition to holding a summit on the creation of meaningful places for children, which allows the sharing of information by people involved in children’s cafeterias throughout the country, the foundation provides assistance in areas such as the sharing of management issues and operating concerns between those working in the field.
Comments from organizations supported by the foundation
Food education activities
Sangosya Score Ms. Higuchi
Okinawa has long lived with the problem of water shortages, and our ancestors had a considerable amount of knowledge in regard to the issue. We have continually implemented activities in which younger people today can re-evaluate their lifestyles based on experiencing the lifestyles of those that came before. Our activities include a day spent in nature, making toys common long ago while preparing home-cooked and special occasion meals using home-grown vegetables. The grants provided by the foundation have allowed us to greatly expand our range of activities, including in regard to the meals we prepare and the vegetables we grow.
Food for a smile and a brighter future!
Food has the power to make people smile, especially when everyone is sitting around the kitchen table sharing a delicious meal. I’ve also felt that sense of joy when learning about the origin of a particular ingredient or how best to enjoy a certain food. I would like to support the many people who are working to create through food and food activities a special place for learning that invigorates both body and mind. The Kewpie Group has been able to attract people from all over Japan and create specialized activities that take advantage of the uniqueness of organizations and specific regions. I hope to see the ongoing development of food education activities in the future.