S: Our current vignette begins with a description of how many in the food industry are taking steps to prioritize customers' well-being, including reducing the size of their products. What do you think about that, Heather?

H: That sounds like a good way to help safeguard consumers' health and ensure a good reputation for your products, which will keep people coming back and expand your customer base and increase sales overall. But I don't mean to be cynical. In the final analysis companies are not charitable institutions. They have to make a profit for the sake of their employees and other shareholders. And if they can do it in a way that benefits people's health, I'm all for it.
This reminded me of my favorite Christmas movie, actually. Basically a New York department store launches a holiday marketing campaign based on putting the customers first. "Doesn't matter whether we make money," the president says in one scene, "as long as the customer is happy. And in the process," he goes on to say "we'll make more money than ever before."

S: So what kind of smaller products do you think would be especially appealing?

H: I read that the soda companies are finding a big audience for miniature soda cans, which doesn't surprise me at all. I've always liked the little sizes you can get here in Japan, which are much easier to carry around if nothing else. And if you drink regular soda instead of diet, that lets you quench your thirst with less of a calorie bomb. Though I laughed at my reaction to the news that a favorite cookie from my childhood was now available in a thinner version. "No!" I thought somewhere deep in my being, "That's just wrong."

S: Do you pay attention to calorie counts on menus?

H: I do. They certainly affect what I order. It's hard to go for Dish A over Dish B when you can clearly see that Dish A has 300 more calories and a big helping of salt. Sometimes I can't help feeling a little resentful like someone spoiled my party. I look at a menu and think "Ooh that looks good. Maybe I'll... All right, fine. I'll go for the grilled chicken."

S: The vignette also talks about the possibility of insects becoming a mainstream food. Have you ever eaten any insects?

H: Twice, I think. The most recent time was a couple of years ago. Someone brought crickets, I think it was, to our office. I tried one. It was crunchy. Tasted fine. Though I have to agree with Nissen about the yuck factor. I did have to steel myself to make an effort to pick it up and put it in my mouth. Though I suppose the yuck factor can be overcome, I mean humans have to do it. There may come a day when people have to eat insects from childhood. If so, they'll grow up thinking it's no different from eating beef or chicken. As long as the older generations can keep a straight face at the dinner table.