In November a group of five executives including the founders of Aarstiderne, a major Danish organic food home-delivery company, visited Japan for gathering and exchanging information about the organic movement and market.
Here is a link to their 20% investor The Triodos Organic Growth Fund where they describe Aarstiderne.
The Danish embassy (where we also had a meeting with the group) asked us to assist the visitors with information and arranging, if possible, visits to shops and meetings with the management of companies. On rather short notice we could arrange a good program.
◆Visiting organic retailers … AEON Bio C’Bon – Crayonhouse – Fukushimaya–Natural House and a major home delivery company Radishbo-ya (see articles below)
Two highlights were the meeting with executives from Radishbo-ya and a tour to the countryside.
The executives of both companies had a lively discussion and exchange of ideas and information. Radishbo-ya asked Aarstiderne how they coped with the competition, a decline of customers and orders after many years of continuous growth.
Thomas Harttung, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, explained as follows: “We knew that we could not compete with the prices of large supermarkets and other retailers and had to focus on excellent services and good customer relations.
We also recognized a growing interest among working women for recipes of healthy and easy to cook dishes and pre-prepared meals. To meet this demand, we hired several chefs, even though we do not operate a restaurant. As a result, the number of customers increased, old customers returned and overall sales climbed substantially.
Japan is a pioneer of the Teikei home delivery system which is very useful for small conventional and organic farmers. There are still many small Teikei operators in Japan, but they are facing a strong competition from big companies like Oisix and to some extent also from Seikyo and other Coops.
After acquiring Daichi wo Mamoru Kai in 2017, Oisix also absorbed Radishbo-ya, and as of October 2018 the comapny is named Oisix ra daichi Inc. — https://www.oisixradaichi.co.jp/en/. In addition to conventional and natural products, Oisix also offers organic and some JAS Organic certified products.