The cranberry market leader already has long term partnerships in Japan with Shoei Foods Corporation and Kanematsu Food Corporation to serve the local food and beverage industries.
But the new partnership, with management services firm Foxmark Inc, is of a different nature: Foxmark will act as a specialist advisory team and support the commercial partnerships.
According to Rick Estabrook, manager of business development for Asia Pacific, Foxmark has experience and expertise in the “nuances of the business landscape in Japan”.
“We’ve already made important inroads into the Japanese market in a number of industry sectors, including beverages, bakery, dairy and health and nutrition,” said Estabrook. The company says its sweetened dried cranberry and Berryfusions products are versatile, and can give an unusual twist to local products.
Foxmark is based in Tokyo, and its team is made up of Japanese and Western executives – a set up that gives it a multi-cultural perspective.
Japan is a particularly lively market for health-oriented products. It was the first country in the world to introduce a government approved health claims system in the 1980s, and since then trade in both approved and ‘unofficial’ healthy products has been brisk. Japanese consumers are particularly keen on innovative products, meaning that interest in cranberries – which has a headstart in terms of awareness in Europe, is likely to be keen.
Ocean Spray draws attention to the success it has had in Asia Pacific in recent years, and its Ingredient Technology Group (ITG) has been putting in place structures to help it make the most of the Asian potential.
In 2007 Ocean Spray appointed new representatives in other markets in the Asia Pacific region – Vietnam, South Korea and the Philippines.