China rice bran oil debuts in Japan to take on domestic brands

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

China rice bran oil brand Arawana drew hundreds of shoppers at its launch in Japan.
China rice bran oil brand Arawana drew hundreds of shoppers at its launch in Japan.

Related tags: Rice

China rice bran oil brand Arawana has made its first move into the ultra-competitive Japan market with its first supermarket launch.

Its debut was accompanied by huge advertisements on skyscrapers in Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, and a grand product launch event attracted hundreds of shoppers at the “il gusto Dolce Vita” store.

This is quite an unusual phenomenon as, while Japan is a major consumer of rice bran oil, its market is dominated by domestic brands.

Japan is known to be the originator of rice bran oil, with a century of history.

Award ignites popularity in Japan

At the International Conference on Rice Bran Oil (ICRBO) 2016 in Tokyo, Arawana competed with several rice bran oil brands from Japan, India, Vietnam and Thailand, and won the "Quality Award". With this exposure and recognition, word about Arawana rice bran oil soon spread, and even Japanese students were reportedly buying Arawana rice bran oil from China.

Arawana is China's leading brand of edible oil, whose parent company Wilmar International Limited ranks number 239 in the Fortune 500 List 2016. As one of the world's largest grain and oil groups, Wilmar has an annual revenue of almost US$41.4b.

Arawana started to focus on rice bran oil in 2006. The R&D team created “enzymatic degumming", a patented technology of low-temperature extraction, to naturally reserve oryzanol and phytosterol — two core nutrients of rice bran oil.

The average content of both oryzanol and phytosterol have been measured be 10,000 mg/kg, which is identified to be a good balance between nutrient reservation and quality. Arawana rice bran oil is, therefore, known for its quality, colour and flavour.

Partnership for the future

In the not too distant future, Arawana will further join hands with Japanese retailers to expand in the market. It plans to sell its products in 10,000 supermarkets in Tokyo and Osaka within two years.

Japan consumes 80,000 tons of rice bran oil every year, displaying huge consumption potential. This market potential is one of the main reasons for Arawana to compete in the market with dominant domestic brands.

In a statement, the company said: “We need to think about how to advance with the times, insist on quality and innovation, in order to secure the position in fierce competition.”

 

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