The firm operates an e-commerce platform (ccjoin.com) that provides products, processes and services to China’s foodservice industry.
JMU said the aim of their new Asia New Food Material Research and Development Centre in Shanghai is to research and develop "New Food Material" — food products and solutions based on the integration of standardised food ingredients, seasonings, and operating procedure (SOP), for RTC and RTE food applications.
Freda Feng, investor relations director of JMU, said this “standardisation” is the watchword of the company’s direction.
“For example, we offer our customers ginger chicken. That is combined with three packages, including RTE chicken, RTE ginger (and seasoning) together with the SOP,” she said.
“For our customers in the dining industry, this is an important step towards the standardisation of Chinese food. It will not only improve the standardisation of food products, but also save energy and improve efficiency.”
“By focusing on the standardisation of materials, taste, and culinary aesthetics, we are able to help our customers and partners achieve long-term growth, thus improving our user stickiness," added Zhu Xiaoxia, co-chairperson and CEO of JMU.
“Through our continued value-added food supply chain innovations, we believe we are well-positioned to lead our industry in realising an efficiency revolution.”
This “efficiency revolution” not only complements JMU’s product line in its online direct sales business, but also provides the company’s customers with products and solutions that it hopes can help them to further reduce costs, save kitchen space, maintain product stability, and safeguard food safety in order to improve operating efficiency.
Zhu has her own catering companies, and it is precisely because of the pain points, high energy consumption and low gross profit experienced in the Chinese food and beverage industry that JMU decided to enter the RTC and RTE segment.
New products and growth
The Asia New Food Material Research and Development Centre was formally established in January this year and mainly focuses on Chinese food, noodles, desserts, Japanese cuisine, coffee and cakes, and condiments.
Already, this year, instant food products that have been produced in the centre include ginger chicken, boiled squid, scallion noodles and peach jelly.
"Since its launch, the order volume of our new products has seen double-digit monthly growth and attracted customers from industry alliances and large restaurant groups alike in the major regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Eastern China,” said Zhu.
The industry alliances refer in particular to a group of 42 catering companies and restaurants that have come together to work with JMU along with cooperation with national and local industry associations.
“We believe that this strong growth momentum will continue for the full year, contributing to our sales and margin performance over the long-term,” said Zhu.
JMU’s 2016 annual report indicated, for the fiscal year ending December 2016, the company’s revenue increased by 538% from the previous year to US$73.2m.
Business and profits are expected to grow even more with the new R&D centre and the “efficiency revolution”.
Feng said that the R&D centre is still under development. They expect that there will be 30 R&D specialists working in the centre by end-2018.
“We will gradually expand our R&D team as our R&D efforts are strengthened,” she said, adding the company currently has 300 employees.