Tag Archives: Novelty Food

Faux Food’s Place in the Food Industry


The history of fake foods

Fake food is also known by various other names such as artificial food, food replicas, and faux food.

They came into being when after Japan’s surrender in 1945 Westerners travelled to Japan to help rebuild the island nation.

Japanese food being different from what they were used to eating in their home country and them not knowing the names had to read from the menu which was difficult since they were printed in Japanese. Communicating the orders was a problem. To overcome this problem, Japanese artists made food items out of wax to help travelers and tourists in the country identify foods and order them.

Those days, fake food in its primitive form was made from paraffin wax and remained in existence until the 1980’s. Later people switched to vinyl chloride, which provides longer lasting fake foods.

Artificial foods have many uses

Artificial food though had its origin in Japan is now used in many parts of the world. Artificial foods have made it to the living room of people. Though they originated as replicas of real food items meant for restaurant displays, they are now used in various ways. In movies and television programs, they are used as props and sometimes even to represent real food items that don’t last through the shooting schedule.

Fake food was first used by Wendy’s to replicate kale for their salad bar in North America.

In nutrition education and consumer research areas, food models are used to display and educate students about various attributes of foods.

Popularly used in Japan as restaurant menu display, plastic food is also seen to be used in grocery chains, museums, cruise ships, and buffet menus.

During photo shoots for print ads, novelty food is used to replace real food items since sometimes, they look better in photographs than the real food and sometimes because the real food item is perishable.

Replica food cost more than real food in the short term but since they last almost indefinitely, they turn out to be cost-effective when compared to buying real foods on a daily basis.

How would you like to eat from a plate of plastic noodles that hang midway in the air?

Artificial foods are created by people who observe keenly and then apply artistic talent to create real looking replicas of foods that are appealing and attractive.

When visiting Japan, tourists make it a point to travel to the city that is home to faux food. Students wishing to learn the art of making faux food enroll in classes taught by some of the learned men who have extensive experience.

The industry is but not doing very well since these fake food props last indefinitely thereby reducing their demand. Some of the manufacturers have found ways to remain in business by not remaining restricted to just manufacturing fake foods.

They have diversified into manufacturing key chains, memorabilia, etc that tourists or even those at home can order online.