NZ King Salmon has aligned with two of Japan’s largest retail centralized buying organisations (CBOs) to reach out to 80 supermarket chains comprising 2500 stores in the competitive but lucrative market.
The move is just one of several new projects featuring New Zealand King Salmon export brands in Japan, China and North America. And the company’s export drive is also helping to drive brand awareness for Marlborough in premium overseas markets.
Japan already accepts some 800 metric tonnes of fresh King salmon earning the company around three per cent market share. Now it has mutually agreed to work with two of Japan’s largest centralised buying organisations (CBO) to grow the market for the NZ King Salmon brand.
The company’s goal is to triple market share to around nine per cent within 36 months. With the majority of fresh salmon sold in supermarkets and department stores the Japanese market comprises some 55,000 supermarkets in around 550 chains servicing a population of around 130 million.
NZ King Salmon Japan country manager Rob Morris says the alignment with two of Japan’s largest retail CBOs provides benefits in marketing efficiency and new product development.
“The CBOs are helping us with sales support, marketing promotions and enabling us to exhibit at their own trade shows as well as introducing us to the decision makers of their chains. Importantly, they are also helping with product development where necessary.
“Simply because of the way things are done in Japan we have identified most of our likely growth will be in retail,” Morris says. “Seafood is more an everyday staple for Japanese consumers so products such as fresh salmon tend to be purchased daily by households for consumption at home.
“Right now we are selling in to eight new chains and negotiating with a further 40 and working with the CBOs on trade fairs and joint sales promotions.
“Plus, we have recently employed two highly experienced Japanese managers for retail and food service who have strong and important connections with decision makers.Who you know is very important in the Japanese market and it is so big it’s vital to develop firm alliances and connections.”
NZ King Salmon export marketing manager Mel Shirley says the domestic market is strong but export growth is showing huge potential.
“New Zealand has a great reputation not only for its scenery and environmental assets but also for its food provenance. We are positioning NZ King Salmon at the premium end of the market so there’s a great fit with brand Marlborough.
“And we like to think our special salmon helps support brand New Zealandin Japan too,” Ms Shirley says.