Suisan Times

Free Newsletter

Nippon Suisan's Foods Business Keeps Revenue and Profit Increases

August 28, 2009

Foods Business of Nippon Suisan is maintaining revenue and profit increases so far this fiscal term. Sales as a single entity recorded 105 percent over last year; and operating earnings are also "significantly growing," according to Susumu Kaneda, Managing Executive Officer/Commissioned Food Products Business Operating Officer.

High performing categories are as follows: fish ham-sausage, 107 percent year over year in sales; cold foods for home use, 106 percent; commercial grade cold foods, 105 percent; and room temperature foods, 111 percent. Kneaded fish products and fish ham-sausage in particular are faring very well because of sales growth and lower costs, compared to the previous year.

Standard articles of a new fall-winter collection that hold high introduction rates are "Shiromi Sakana Karaage" (deep-fried white fish) and "Ebi Puripuri Fry" (deep-fried plumy shrimp) of a "Chikyu no Gochiso" (Earth's delicacy) series, "Mainichi Eraberu Osozai" (Dish you can choose everyday) and "3-shu no Chuka" (three kinds of Chinese meals) of a natural thawing series, and "Wakadori no Yakitori" (skewered young chicken) of a "Hoshii Bundake" (as much as you need) series.

Especially, in a "Chikyu no Gochiso" series, which aims for differentiation by an integrated system starting from raw material procurement, products that use South American hoki, the representation of the Nissui Group's powerful access to natural resources, were reinforced. Hoki is believed to possess amino acid, a taste component, three times as high as pollack. "Shiromi Sakana Karaage," a deep-fried, crispy hoki fillet with soy sauce flavor, and "Shiromi Sakana to Tartar Sauce," which uses a special tartar sauce developed with Kewpie, are produced according to stringent quality standards. Such specialty foods will be emphasized.

Kaneda Commissioned Food Products Business Operating Officer Says, "We Will Stress Principles for Private Brand"

Fish sausage, a long-selling product for 58 years, will be focused on more than ever. Up until now the product has been evolving with such application as eco-clip; and today, the product fortified with calcium is recognized as special diet food. Professional grade cold foods, gratin and doria, and cold foods for home use, broiled rice ball, commencing a 20-year anniversary, will be also the targets of sales expansion.

Regarding private brands for major mass retailers, Mr. Kaneda said, "We will appropriately deal with them, making sure that quality won't be compromised because of prices." Mr. Kaneda continued to say, "Nissui will agree to it, once costs are met after placing quality as a top priority," stressing the basic principles.

The original article was published on August 28, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Shopping Center Sales Indicate Largest Negative Range

August 27, 2009

Sales from existing shopping centers for the month of July summarized by the Japan Council of Shopping Center indicated an 8.5 percent contraction, the largest negative range since the start of statistics in July 2002. The unfavorable record resulted from a growing consumer spending freeze and the bad weather.

Additionally, there is an increasing trend of vacancies inside shopping centers, which is another factor of the slump. Compared to the suburbs and surrounding areas, the central areas had the hardest hits; especially, Hokuriku and Chubu recorded double digit declines, 15.5 and 13.5 percent respectively.

In government designated cities, the City of Nagoya was the only one registering a two digit decline of 12.7 percent.

The original article was published on August 27, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Hokkaido Fisheries Coop Worries About Unfavorable Catch of Chum Salmon

August 27, 2009

The Hokkaido Fisheries Cooperative Association held a fall-season business meeting on August 25 in Tokyo. About 200 people from 85 wholesaling, processing, and trading companies located in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, and Kanto regions exchanged opinions of this season's production, sales, and market trends of such Hokkaido marine merchandises as chum salmon, scallop, and saury.

Vice-Chairman Masao Miyamura said, "As far as chum salmon goes, this year's projection is even lower than the last year's slumping number; stakeholders are very much concerned about it. We are facing fisheries related issues: scallop yield has declined and also the production curtailment of kelp is projected as a result of the uncooperative weather. In these difficult circumstances, we must tighten relationships with producers more than ever, effectively proceed with distribution measures, and promote stable distributions and consumption."

Hope for Calm Market Trend of Salmon Roe

At a sectional meeting of chum salmon, each region reported on the sales and market trends of chum salmon as well as salmon roe. With the projection of chum salmon catch from 80,000 to 128,000 tons (116,000 tons last year), there were numerous voices expressing hopes for a calm market move of salmon roe, which shot up last year.

Last year's chum salmon harvest amount came to 115,600 tons. Compared to the recent numbers of 160,000 to 180,000 tons, there was a significant decline. Its unit price was \430, ending at the highest point in 15 years since 1993.

Resulting from chum salmon's lean catch, salmon roe prices skyrocketed a year ago. In contrast with increasing demand contributed by reasonable prices during 2004 and 2006, there was data that evidenced a declined appearance ratio on dining tables in the previous year.

"Extravagant market prices lead to consumption reductions. In order to boost consumption, we need to take two to three years to move back to an appropriate price level," said the Cooperative Association. The estimated consumption amount of salmon roe last year was approx. 8,500 tons. In comparison to the average consumption amount of the past five years, 12,000 to 13,000 tons, it was obviously a significant drop.

Concerning the Cooperative Association's strategies of chum salmon products for this term, "increasing the consumption of fresh fillet and fresh salted salmon roe will be given a top priority. In addition, we will promote sales of salmon roe, frozen and aged fillet; advertising "Made in Hokkaido," we will aggressively take on product promotions as foodstuff available all throughout the year," according to Assistant Advisor Ryuichi Nakamura.

As to chum salmon exports, they said, "We will continue to secure a certain amount for exporting to China. We are hoping to develop a processing base outside of China. We will hold a wait and see stance for the acquisitions of MSC and Eco-Label this year.

The original article was published on August 27, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Kyokuyo Receives Thailand's Best Friend Award

August 24, 2009

Kyokuyo received a "Thailand Best Friend" award established by the Department of Export Promotion Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. The awards were created this year to honor foreign companies for the purpose of promoting exports of such Thai domestic products as agricultural and marine products. In the first year this year, 53 companies from 24 different countries were awarded.

Kyokuyo contributed to Thailand by importing processed marine products, i.e. sushi related materials; Kyokuyo was one of the ten Japanese companies awarded this year. Kyokuyo was nominated by its major business client, Union Frozen Product (UFP).

The Thai government invited award recipients from the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia. An award ceremony held at a Minister's office on August 4. Makoto Arato, Director of the Overseas Business Department, represented Kyokuyo and received the award from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Figure 1: Mr. Arato (left) receives
award from Prime Minister Abhisit

The original article was published on August 24, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Daito Gyorui President Interview

August 24, 2009

It has been about three years since Mr. Hideki Kamo was transferred to Daito Gyorui in Nagaya. We interviewed Daito Gyorui President Kamo, who just returned to Tokyo again in June this year.

Figure 1:President Kamo

Suisan Times (ST): Wholesalers in Tsukiji Market had a bitter fight during the first quarter.
Kamo (K): Declines in transaction amounts and lower unit prices could be seen not only at Tsukiji Market, but also at wholesale markets nationwide. This wasn't just a "come and go" type of trend, but I suppose that the root of the problem lies in the structural issue that the seafood distribution sector has encountered. How we realize matters that we aim to tackle as business polices is our responsibility and job. However, there is no possibility of a big reverse. This isn't a simple problem that can be solved right away.

ST: How will you respond to this tough situation?
K: One of the keys is to examine how we combat a battle inside wholesale markets, the very fundamental place, by going back to the starting point. I want to reinvigorate wholesale distributions in collaboration with intermediate wholesalers. On the other hand, another key point is how wholesalers can make inroads to a business arena outside of wholesale markets. To this end, we will build a business structure that can flexibly respond to changes through the review of a company structure and system as well as human resources development.

ST: You are back in Tokyo for the first time in three years.
K: Tsukiji Market has a role as a driving force of Japan's seafood distribution sector. Having a clear understanding of it, I wish to get to work on issues ahead of us.

ST: What is an axis of your business?
K: Human resources are the most essential part. I strive for business that cares about people. In the world of wholesaling, human relationships are important a great deal. How we can build trustworthy relationships with producers and intermediate wholesalers is of great import. We will foster human resources that exhibit an ability to flexibly react, understanding the circumstances. I want to conduct personnel education through workshops.

The original article was published on August 24, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

70% of Consumers Find Private Brand Products As Safe As Name Brands

August 21, 2009

The Japan Finance Corporation (JFC) summarized a consumer research study on private brands (PB). 63.2 percent of consumers said there was no difference in taste between name brands and PB's; also 75.7 percent of them saw no difference in safety.

In the middle of the worldwide, simultaneous economic crisis, which encouraged consumers to opt for a frugal lifestyle, PB products have been growing with their low prices as a weapon. The JFC said, "We see popularities in products that respond to consumer needs, not only safety, but also prices and other elements." There are only less than 10 percent of consumers who are only concerned about the cheapness of PB products, not at all about quality; it can be inferred that "consumers wish to save money, but at the same time, cannot compromise product safety and assurance."

The survey received answers from 2,000 men and women at 20 to 60 years of age. Regarding their purchasing PB products, the purchasing ratios of all product items showed increases. Compared to one year ago, PB categories whose purchasing amounts and frequencies rose were milk and dairy products, 22.6 percent and seafood products, 10.3 percent.

What consumers would seek in PB products was "low prices", 74.7 percent; "high safety", 55.9 percent; and "taste", 39 percent. In contrast, what they would want in regular name brands was "high safety", 59 percent; "low prices", 45 percent; and "taste", 44.7 percent.

As to a deciding price level of PB's, "when they are more than 10 percent cheaper than name brands," 38.8 percent of consumers were willing to go for them; 29.5 percent of them wanted more than "20 percent" cheaper; and 14.6 percent of them wanted a further lower price, "more than 30 percent". 9.5 percent of consumers said "they would choose PB products when they were priced the same as name brands."

About images consumers would have towards PB and usual name brand products, 68 percent of consumers associated PB products with "cheap prices"; conversely, 61.1 percent of them attached "premium" to regular name brand products. To a question of in what aspects do you think there are no differences between PB and name brand products, 75.7 percent of consumers answered "safety"; and "taste" rose to 63.2 percent. A majority of people saw no differences in most elements between the two product categories. 62.2 percent of consumers said they would bear almost the same trust in both PB's and name brands.

Foods Manufactures Respond to Consumer Preference for PB Products

64.2 percent of foods manufactures and 71.8 percent of retailers deal with PB products today; 23.2 percent of foods makers said "they would want to increase the amounts of PB products"; and 9.8 percent said "they would want to newly deal with PB products." 36.3 percent of retailers expressed their desire to increase the amounts of PB's; and 8 percent said they would want to newly deal with PB products." Reacting to consumer preference for PB products, food manufactures and related companies actively expressed their interest.

The original article was published on August 21, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

News Topics INDEX
(C) Copyright 2004-2010, Suisan Times Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.