Edible tableware, such as plates made of shrimp crackers and small cups made of seaweed, are gaining popularity in Japan as environmentally friendly substitutes for disposable dishes, thus cutting down on the amount of polystyrene foam and plastic waste.
For example, the "e-tray" series developed by Marushige Seika K.K., a company that makes the crust for ice cream-filled "monaka" wafers, are edible serving plates and bowls made of shrimp crackers. In addition to its products being much sought after by food vendors at baseball stadiums and at local festivals, the company based in Aichi Prefecture's Hekinan has also been receiving an increasing number of inquiries from overseas.
Available in a variety of oval or rectangular shapes and sizes, the plates and bowls are durable enough to ensure that they don't break too easily. "You can pour in water and they will still hold up for 30 minutes," said Katsuhiko Sakakibara, a senior managing director at Marushige. "The plates have even been used for serving parfaits."