Highly successful debut for Oishii Japan as Japanese F&B producers look to ASEAN as export market

Sunday, 11 November, 2012
Oishii Japan enjoyed a successful debut as Japanese food exporters target the growing Singapore and ASEAN market.
Held from 1 to 3 November at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, the show attracted over 5,000 participants from more than 20 countries.

According to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan’s key export markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and China registered a decline in F&B imports after last year’s earthquake. But ASEAN bucked the trend with Japanese F&B imports rising by 12.2 per cent to 74.3 billion Yen. Singapore recorded an increase of 2.1 per cent to 14.1 billion Yen.

Mr Koji Nanbu, Deputy Director of Export Promotion Division in MAFF, revealed that ASEAN has now emerged as an important market for Japanese food exports. He added, “Singapore, with its strategic location, would be a gateway for Japanese companies to expand into ASEAN.” Mr Nanbu also noted that Oishii Japan had the largest concentration of Japanese companies in any food-related exhibition in this region.

Oishii Japan occupied over 4,000 square metres and had 220 exhibiting companies from 27 prefectures. Some 90 per cent of the companies were from Japan. MAFF, as a strong supporting organisation of Oishii Japan, took up the largest pavilion of 150 square metres at the show.

Mr Masanao Nishida, Director of Oishii Japan, said: “The show was created as an answer to the growing popularity of Japanese food and drinks among Asians. It is an excellent platform for ASEAN buyers to explore and source from a rich mix of quality Japanese F&B products and kitchen equipment, many of which were launched outside of Japan for the first time. “In addition, we had an exciting lineup of workshops, demonstrations and product presentations to enhance visitors’ knowledge and appreciation for Japanese food culture,” Mr Nishida said.

Business objectives of participants fulfilled

The first edition of Oishii Japan featured a wide variety of Japanese products such as meat, seafood, sake and shochu, noodles, sauces, condiments and confectionery as well as a wide range of cutlery, utensils and tableware and innovative kitchen equipment.

The showcase was a useful sourcing platform for F&B professionals, chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, importers and distributors, retailers as well as new business owners and investors in the food business.

Positive feedback from trade visitors attests to Oishii Japan being a dedicated showcase of an exciting variety of Japanese F&B goods and related services.

A delighted Mr Phakkawatphinyo Bapphabun, hosted buyer from Thailand, said: “My visit to Oishii Japan has been very productive. I placed orders with several suppliers of meat, seafood and processed food from various prefectures. I am looking forward to source for more consumer packaged products in my next visit!”

Mr Truong Khanh Hoa, a hosted buyer from Vietnam, commented, “This is a good place to procure authentic Japanese F&B products. I have met many new suppliers with interesting products which have great potential to be imported into Vietnam.”

Exhibitors were pleased with the show as they had met good quality buyers from Singapore and the region.

Said Mr Hiroki Yamanaka, Chief Executive Staff, Market Development Division, Sakai City Industrial Promotion Centre, which displayed a range of exquisite kitchen knives used for Japanese cooking: “This was our first time exhibiting outside of Japan and New York, and we are surprised that the people here are so interested in Japanese food and sake. “We met about 30 potential distributors and we will be following up with them. Many chefs also came to look at our knives. We sold a number of the knives, with the most expensive priced at $12,000. We featured five manufacturers for this show. Next year, we will bring more participants.”

Mr Katsuhiko Chinzei, who is in charge of exports at Rumi Japan, a fish processing company, met more than 30 potential buyers. “Overall, we are very satisfied with Oishii Japan,” he added.

Said a representative of Niigata Sake Association, which had 19 breweries taking part: “We wanted Singapore to know more about sake, especially Niigata sake.” Having met with many prospective distributors, the breweries were happy with the turnout of the show.

Culinary haven for public

Members of the public who visited the show on Saturday (November 3) were generally delighted with the variety of exhibits and tastings. It was an opportunity to sample premium Japanese food, sake and shochu as well as to purchase products which are not available in Singapore yet.

Highlights of the show included:
  •  ‘Live’ Japanese food demonstrations by Fumikazu Ohnuki, Executive Sous Chef of celebrity restaurant Hide Yamamoto and Akihiro Maetomo, Executive Chef of Chikuyotei Singapore.
  • Appreciation workshops on Japanese sake, shochu and awamori
  • Product presentations on Japanese rice, kelp and other prefecture specialities
  • Udon Discoveries for Kids, an udon-making workshop for children 10 to 12 years old
  • Ramen and udon-making demonstrations and free tastings

A pleased Mr Nishida announced that Oishii Japan will be held annually, in view of its popularity.