Sushi-making has long been respected in Japan as a cultural expression of art because of the emphasis on appearance, as well as taste. However Japanese company Suzomo has just modernized the sushi industry with a line of sushi robots that can automatically roll sushi with ingredients pre-assembled for them.
These machines can be small enough to fit on counter-tops, and create 3,600 mounds of sushi per hours. Another machine roll about 300 medium-sized sushi rolls in an hour (larger rolls take more time to create). The machines work by grabbing a pile of rice from a rice bowl placed on top of the machine and sculpting it into a flat sheet. Then the machine adds a piece of seaweed, fish and veggies. Then at the press of a button the conveyor belt platform covers the sushi and rolls it up.
Suzumo hopes with these machines it can “precisely recreate the handmade taste and technique used by an experienced sushi chef.” No mention was given to appearance however, which many sushi-lovers know is almost as important as taste itself. It can be hard to imagine a sushi machine acutely dropping sauce on a roll, or arranging a dragon roll to actually look like a dragon. For this reason it’s hard to imagine most high-end sushi restaurants replacing their experienced sushi chefs with a sushi machine. These machines may find more use in malls or franchises that require fast output. These machines have the added advantage of standardization, letting a franchise creates a perfectly standardized sushi product that doesn’t alternate depending on the chef.
Sushi machines should cost only a few thousand dollars each, making them far more cost effective than hiring an experienced sushi chef, though these machines do require some labor to place ingredients and operate them.
Suzomo machines may ultimately drive down the costs of sushi, and thus raise demand for the pricy raw-fish food. With fish conservation efforts growing, many popular fish including bluefin tuna are being increasingly protected by environmental groups from ending up in our sushi. There is still no word on how Suzomo machines might affect the food industry, but given their low cost and high yield of output, they may have devastating effects upon fish conservation.
Watch the video below to see how Suzomo sushi machines are changing the world of sushi as we know it.
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