Many Japanese social studies teachers have utilized food as a theme in their lessons because of its student-friendly and abundant-narrative characteristics. However, there was no systemic research on why and how teachers used food as a theme in their lessons, so the value of food in social studies has not yet been clearly revealed. This study aims at reviewing social studies research that dealt with food as a theme and discovering new possibilities of food in social studies. For the aim, we collected the research that dealt with food from the three major Japanese social studies journals. After finding the similarities and differences of the research, we categorized it into four types: "Inquiring concepts and theories," "Understanding people's effort," "Analysing values," and "Regenerating one’s own region." Each type had its own positive educational vision; however, it tended to focus on an individual, instead of a society or community. In other words, food was utilized as a theme to educate an individual, wise "consumer," instead of a "human being" who could pursue a mutual agreement with others. Considering educating democratic citizens in social studies, we need to expand our usage of food from "I-focused" approach to "We-focused" approach.