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ITO-YOKADO Hopes To Expand Imports of Fresh K-Foods

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Could you briefly introduce your company and yourself?

 


ITO-YOKADO Co., Ltd. is a representative Japanese distributor, with 173 stores throughout Japan. We are currently expanding our sales network by establishing “Ario” shopping malls and food stores in residential areas. The total sales of ITO-YOKADO last year were USD$8 billion. I’m Takahashi Miyuki, chief buyer of the food section, ITO-YOKADO Co., Ltd. I’m in charge of planning sales promotions.


What kinds of Korean agri-products are you importing?

 


ITO-YOKADO started imports of Korean products with cucumbers, some 20 years ago. We are now importing mainly fresh Korean agri-products - pears, chestnuts, mini bell peppers (paprika), peaches, pine mushrooms, and cucumbers. The volume of imports for paprika is 75 tons, chestnut is 12 tons, and pears are 10 tons. Since four or five years ago, Japanese consumers have become interested in Hanryu (Korean popular culture wave) and the volume of Korean agri-products we import has been increasing. We hold sales promotions for Korean agri-products two or three times every year.

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How do local people respond to the imported Korean agri-products?


Korean agri-products are well received for their taste and quality. Local people especially prefer Korean paprika to paprika imported from other countries, such as Holland, because the Korean product is comparable to others in quality but is more price competitive. Many Japanese consumers give priority to the place of origin when they purchase foods. In this respect, we think that Korean agri-products are very competitive.


Have you experienced any problems when importing Korean agri-products? Any suggestions on what needs to be improved?

 

 

 


To export large quantities of K-foods to Japan, Korea must plan a definite marketing strategy. It needs marketing points - scarce and unique K-foods, premium-quality K-foods, competitively-priced agri-products, etc. The interest of local people in healthy, functional foods is increasing these days. Korean K-food exporters need to make constant efforts to develop such kinds of foods. Also, there should be clear markings on the packages for “how to eat” and “how to cook” this food.


Could you tell us about your plans for importing Korean agri-products?

 

 


If fresh Korean agri-products come within our price range and quality, ITO-YOKADO will import larger amounts of fresh K-foods - leafy vegetables, mushrooms, beans, melons, peaches, etc.

Inquiries  ITO-YOKADO Co., Ltd.    Tel  +81-3-6238-2956    Fax  +81-3-6238-3431    Website   m2-takahashi@iy.7andi.co.jp

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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