Japan Focus: Kikkoman’s growth in India, Carlsberg Malaysia-Asahi partnership ends, Asahi’s new procurement arm, bento culture and more

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

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Kikkoman’s goal for the Indian market, Carlsberg Malaysia’s exclusive distribution partnership with Asahi to end this year, Asahi targets cost savings via new procurement arm, demand for RTE products in convenience stores, and the countdown to Growth Asia 2023 feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

Kikkoman looking to become mainstay in Indian market amid diversifying food preferences

Japanese sauces brand Kikkoman is seeking to cement its foothold in the Indian market via food service partners and retail channels, with the firm believing local consumers are becoming increasingly receptive of international flavours.

Kikkoman India was established in September 2020 and the brand’s signature Soy Sauce was launched in February the following year.

According to Harry Hakuei Kosato, India Representative and Director at Kikkoman India, the brand “had long been eyeing” the market for its large population and growth potential.

‘No risk’ of loss: Carlsberg Malaysia plays down impact of Asahi partnership ending

Carlsberg Malaysia believes the end of its exclusive distribution partnership with Asahi is risk-free, and will use the opportunity to double down on its premiumisation strategy.

Carlsberg has held the sole exclusive distribution rights to the Asahi brand in Malaysia for over 10 years, but both brands announced earlier this year that they had mutually agreed not to renew this agreement starting 2024.

Global consolidation: Asahi targets US$100mn annual cost savings via new procurement arm

Asahi is hoping to save a minimum of US$100mn annually by consolidating its procurement operations.

Many of its procurement functions are currently handled on an individual region or country basis. The firm believes that this structure is hindering it from achieving maximum efficiency and productivity, and has thus set up the new Asahi Global Procurement organisation based in Singapore, led by newly-minted CEO Tomas Veit.

It will also be the firm’s first function that has a wholly global focus, which Asahi views as a step towards more efficient and integrated management.

Join Nestle, Blackmores, Suntory, Mondelez, Amway and more at Growth Asia 2023

We are days away from our flagship Growth Asia Summit, which will feature a raft of major brands, leading academics, innovative suppliers and market experts.

Under the theme of Trends and Innovation Opportunities Across the Life Stages, ​the summit​ taking place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands will ​explore the latest market opportunities across the region that are driving growth of the food, beverage and nutrition industries in Asia.

The Advanced Programme​ is available for download.

Burgeoning bento culture: Japanese consumers seek healthy, hassle-free and affordable RTE products in convenience stores – survey

In a recent survey by ITOCHU Group’s MyVoiceCom, about 45% of 9,461 respondents said that they consume bento boxes — also known as ready-to-eat (RTE) lunch boxes — sold at convenience stores.

Results showed that more than 10% of people who buy bento boxes eat them more than once a week, with the ratio being high among men and young consumers.

The reasons cited by the respondents include ‘the desire to finish a meal quickly’, ‘no time to prepare meals’, and ‘troublesome to make lunch boxes’.

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