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Maruha Nichiro Subsidiary Taiyo A&F Prays for Safe Voyage and Great Catch

December 7, 2009

Taiyo A&F, located in Toyomi, Tokyo (President Hironobu Imamura), held an "Omiki Oroshi" ceremony to pray for a safe voyage and a large catch at its headquarters on Dec. 3. The company hosts this ceremony every other month, inviting those who are involved in the seafood industry. A get-together is considered as a place where extensive information exchanges take place and the industry gets charged up.

President Imamura said, "There are usually participants from the government and private sectors; due to the year-end budgetary planning, we mainly see people from the private sectors today. As the environment surrounding the seafood industry is becoming tougher and tougher day after day, I hope that this type of event serves as an opportunity to open a vista for the future of the industry."

Maruha Nichiro Holdings President Yuji Igarashi who attended the event representing Maruha Nichiro Group, commented: "In the past few years, fisheries departments and seafood operations depended on steady fish prices; however, since the Lehman Brothers collapse last fall, we have all suffered the consumer freeze and deflation. It's been ten years since I came to Maruha; it has been the hardest year ever. In October, I experienced for the first time in my life a "rope-cutting ceremony" at the launching ceremony of the "Daini Fuji-Maru," Taiyo A&F's large purse seiner; and I truly felt that fisheries were dream and romance. In mid- and long-term perspectives, with natural resources depletion, more stringent fishing regulations, and global population growth, strengthening access to resources isn't a wrong direction to take. Though the tough situation continues on, I hope that the group as one will triumph over hardships, embracing the dream and romance."

After a speech made by Tomonori Kosaka, Executive Director of the Japan Fisheries Association, Yoshio Kono, Board Chairperson of the Norinchukin Bank (the agricultural and forestry central bank) proposed a toast.

At the get-together, such marine foods procured worldwide by the company as bluefin, shrimp, crab, and mero (patagonian toothfish), were arranged on the table. Bluefin sashimi from different marine areas of the company's bluefin aquaculture operations at Motobu (Okinawa), Kashiwajima (Kochi), Katsu-ura (Wakayama), Yuya (Yamaguchi), and Goto (Nagasaki) was provided. An ending toast was given by Kazuo Shima, Chairman of the Japan Far Seas Purse Seine Fishing Association.

Picture: (left) bluefin tune comparison. (right) Maruha Nichiro Group and guests.

The original article was published on December 7, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

November Tsukiji Market Figures: Transaction Amounts Decline 7% to \34.2B

December 3, 2009

The transaction quantities of seven wholesalers in Tsukiji Market for the month of November added up to 44,880 tons, or a 1.8 percent decline. The average unit price per kg ended in \763, down five percentage points. Total amounts fell 6.7 percent to \34.2 billion.

The following companies displayed increases in amounts: Daito Gyorui 4.1 percent; Daiichi Suisan 4.5 percent; and Sogo Shokuhin 12.5 percent. Marusen Chiyoda Suisan experienced unit price rises and a 2.6 percent increase in value.

Ota Ichiba Shows 30 Percent Plunge in Amounts

Results of other markets other than Tsukiji Market are as follows (amounts/unit price/value; numbers shown in parentheses indicate decrease or increase year to year):

[Adachi] 2,397t («5.9%) \764 (1.1%) \1.831B («4.9%)
[Ota] 1,113t («31.6%) \860 («1.0%) \957M («32.3%)
[Chiba] 1,873t («4.9%) \739 («6.3%) \1.385B («10.9%)
[Funabashi] 1,968t («9.3%) \722 («7.5%) \1.421B («16.1%)
[Kashiwa-Uoichiba] 1,918t («3.7%) \819 («5.9%) \1.571B («9.4%)
Tsukiji Market Transaction Amounts by Company for November e09
Company Amount (t)Unit Price (\/kg)Value (\M)
Tohto Suisan7,1428756,249
Tsukiji Uoichiba7,6267245,522
Daiichi Suisan4,5177543,404
Chiyoda Suisan7,3564873,586
Sogo Shokuhin6321,171740

The original article was published on December 3, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

October Fish Feed Production Indicates 10% Decline Year to Year

December 1, 2009

The Japan Aquaculture Feed Association summarized the fish feed production for the month of October. The total amount came to 52,895 tons, or 89.5 percent over the same month last year. The following items displayed increases: feed for Japanese horse mackerel 161percent; for carp 126.7 percent; and for eel 108.9 percent. On the other hand, sea bream feed and feed for yellowtail varieties among others declined, marking 78.5 and 93.2 percent respectively.

 October 2009Cumulative total (April-Oct 2009)
This Year (t)Year-to-Year Comparison (%)This Year (t)Year-to-Year Comparison (%)
Trout 1,21596.48,25696.3
Ayu (Sweetfish)30192.66,41999.9
Sea Bream15,24278.594,47889.9
Yellowtail varieties29,28293.2144,84490.9
Japanese Horse
Coho Salmon27296.712,029123.7

The original article was published on December 1, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

CGC Japan Aims for Annual Group Sales of \5 Trillion

November 12, 2009

CGC Japan, Japan's largest cooperative purchasing organization, recorded annual group sales of \4 trillion. The CGC is slated to strengthen its group activities, aiming for \5 trillion in sales for this year. The sales percentage of CGC labeled products is currently 7.5 percent; the group is determined to raise it to 10 percent in the next term. The current group operation consists of 226 member companies and their 3,654 stores. The group's annual sales add up to \4.1932 trillion. Five more companies, bringing in a total of \151.2 billion, joined the group in 2009. There are some new member companies waiting to be part of the group, and "[We] want to reach \5 trillion sooner than later," said President Takao Morita.

Mr. Morita outlined the management policies for 2010: 1) Realization of positive economic effect from the group's scale; 2) mobilization of intellectual capital; 3) creation of number one strategies in the region; 4) establishment of a stable food supply base; 5) cost reductions; and 6) environmental responsiveness. He added: "There is a linkage between our ambition for the scale and the generation of the base; we will concentrate on sales of the main items we will select. Additionally, about 250 items chosen as "must-have items" will be sold as the main products of our member companies."

The original article was published on November 12, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Sushi Choshi-Maru Holds Turkey Fair from Jan 22,
Promoting Fresh Bluefin Tuna from Aegean Sea

November 12, 2009

Sushi Choshi-Maru, a leading sushi boat restaurant chain headquartered in the Chiba Prefecture under the management of President Hayao Horichi, will start selling high quality fresh bluefin tuna from Turkey on Jan. 22. To commemorate the new product line, an event named "Turkey de Debut" will be held at all of its restaurants.

Because of the ICCAT in December 2009 and the Washington Convention (COP) in
March of this year, unstable factors surrounding bluefin tuna supply are increasing, resulting in rising uncertainty of its future. In the midst of this situation, with the help of a Turkish trading company, Baharu Corporation, the sushi chain company successfully established a system that entails direct air transportation of bluefin tunas from the Aegean Sea to Narita Airport.

The "Turkey de Debut" fair, a collaborative event with the Turkish Embassy, has another aim to introduce Turkish culture, such as Turkish specialty items and tourist attractions, in addition to the expansion of tuna sales.

On the first day of the event, the Ambassador to Japan, Sermet Atacanl?, will be invited to a special opening ceremony at Sushi Choshi-Maru Takashima-Daira. Other than a demonstration of tuna dissection, the first 100 customers will receive free tuna blocks (more than 300g).

The event will last until February 24. Otoro tuna, regularly priced at \525, will be offered at \399; Chutoro price will be reduced from \399 to \299. A couple of the special menu items are "Gekidan Set" (\980), a luxurious sushi set of Turkish bluefin and Choshi-Maru's famous fresh fish and "Aegean Sea Original Salad" (\390), a flavorful salad with Turkish olive oil and resins.

The original article was published on November 12, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Omori Machinery Co. Suggests Packaging Machine That Meets Clients' Needs

November 12, 2009

At an interview with Omori Machinery Co. President Toshio Omori conducted by the Suisan Times, he spoke of the current situation and issues of packaging machinery makers, as well as the company's efforts. He expressed his goals: "The last linchpin of food manufacturing is wrapping. Quality of performances at this stage may affect a product's end result. Therefore, we will progressively manufacture packaging machines that satisfy users and consumers based on the concepts of quality stability and efficiency."

As to the trends of the packaging machinery manufacturing industry, President Omori commented: "It's not that bad, compared to other manufacturing industries. Its growth rate is moving steadily as has happened in the past. Yet, it takes some time to decide on delivery; or there are increasing cases where almost-closed contracts are postponed to the next opportunity, as a matter of fact. Users are becoming cautious. As for my company, in recent years, work for food manufacturers is slightly decreasing; on the other hand, contracts with pharmaceutical companies are growing. Nonetheless, food packaging accounts for more than half of the total work we do."

Furthermore, what is asked of wrapping machines is "first of all quality. Carrying out a perfect job is the most important thing; finding a foreign object in a product even once becomes detrimental. Seals being stuck or misprinting leads to customer complaints and eventually the end of the company life. What consumers expect of products and product packaging is getting more sophisticated year after year; we, packaging machinery makers, are strongly feeling their scrutiny of the industry. Especially a possibility of high speed processing is an issue of life or death for users. We see various modules of packaging in recent years: the acceleration of the diversification of preceding process and increases in OEM production. In some cases, packaging the different number of the same contents happen, as well. Switching lines occur more frequently than before; and we just have to keep up with such speed."

With regard to OEM products, he said, "Consumers ask of makers, and makers ask of machines. The starting point is consumer needs. Consumers want three pieces instead of two; then they now ask for two instead of three. We are dealing with a vast array of sectors like manufactures, convenience stores, retailers, and professional products. Packaging machines are responsive to the various needs."

He expressed his goals: "Harnessing techniques we have cultivated for years and experiences we have obtained from factories nationwide, we want to continue to offer new machines."

The original article was published on November 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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