Ritualistic experience: Greek herbal tea firm Anassa Organics enters Japan to tap strong gifting culture
Currently exporting to 18 markets, Anassa entered Russia earlier this summer, Australia in October, with Japan as its next focus.
Founded in 2013 in Athens, about 40% of its business is domestic, and 60% export. Anassa sources organic herbs and whole leaves in different regions across Greece and packages it in its facility in Athens.
In Japan, the herbal teas (tin, sachet) will be sold on Kanazawa Daichi’s website, major departmental stores and supermarket chains
Motomu Sugano, executive manager at Kanazawa Daichi told FoodNavigator-Asia it was targeting departmental stores to tap on Japan’s strong gifting culture.
Kanazawa Daichi is an organic farm and manufactures and sells about 150 of its own organic products such as rice, vegetables, sauces, beverages, and wheat flour. Anassa will be its first imported product.
Premium, organic and experience
Sugano said the herbal tea market in Japan was not as big as coffee or tea, but was hoping the premium, organic product and its unique packaging would attract Japanese consumers.
“Coffee is still the biggest hot beverage in Japan. But more people now are interested in unique, healthy, organic products. As a caffeine-free alternative, Anassa’s herbal teas offer consumers chance for relaxation. It is also good as a gift.”
Some of the herbs used in Anassa’s blends include carob, mint, lemon balm, sage, chamomile and fennel.
Chrisoula Sotiriou, export manager at Anassa Organics, hopes the herbal tea concept will align well with the Japanese culture and mentality.
“Herbal tea is increasing consumed worldwide, depending on countries, there is a 15 to 25% increase annually for herbal tea consumption.
“Everybody knows what black, red or green tea is, but herbals teas are an alternative to such teas. It is caffeine free and offers an alternative to people who want to try something different.”
Sotiriou was aware that Anassa was not the only brand selling herbal teas in Japan, but is tapping its concept and patented packaging to attract consumers.
“Our serving concept is unique. For instance, if you buy our tin teas, it will come with filters and wooden sticks. It becomes a ritualistic experience for consumers.”
Sotiriou added that it would be working with Kanazawa Daichi for its branding and marketing strategy.
“We will not localise our labelling, our product, so we will not blend with Japanese herbs. We will stay true to our Greek herbal teas which are of high quality and unique.”
Kanazawa Daichi will bring in 10 sachets (10/ea) products and 9 tin products (15g to 60g) into Japan this December.
Within Asia, Anassa also entered South Korea in 2016, Singapore in 2017 and Hong Kong in 2019. Sotiriou said South Korea contains to be its best-performing market in Asia, with sales growing 5% year-on-year.
She has high hopes for Japan. “Japan is a trend setter for this region, and if sales go well, it will reflect onto the rest of the region.”