Okinawa Flour Milling to expand business in Asia

Okinawa Flour Milling to expand business in Asia

On January 16, at Okinawa Flour Milling Co., Ltd, Naha, CEO Ichiro Takeuchi (right) promoted products to senior management from a major sugar sales company from Hong Kong (left).

January 17, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Flour Milling Co. is expanding its business in Asia for the first time. They will be selling a flour and brown sugar powder mix in Hong Kong and Taiwan this year. On January 16, CEO Ichiro Takeuchi said that he can see an end ahead for expansion of market share in Okinawa because the prefecture’s population will reach its peak. He said, “We cannot compete on price in Tokyo, but we can try to actively expand into overseas markets. Exporting Okinawan products will bring financial gain, and that means that we will not need to rely on revenue from U.S. military bases.”

In September 2012, Okinawa Flour Milling participated in the largest food exhibition in Asia – the Food Expo in Hong Kong. At first, they had hoped to attract interest from the general public, but unexpectedly it turned out that there was more interest for professional-use. In December they also took part in the Bakery Expo. Takeuchi went to Hong Kong and checked out the level of marketability overseas. In October, they also participated in the Food Expo in Taiwan.

“Business happens very quickly overseas. There were companies that wanted to set up deals then and there. Japanese flour is rated higher In Asia than we had expected. If we ship it to Tokyo, we have to compete on price, but if we have to spend money on transport costs, I would rather invest in potential markets in Asia, such as the Indian market,” said Takeuchi, expressing an interest in expanding beyond Hong Kong and Taiwan.

On January 16, Okinawa Flour Milling showed their flour and brown sugar mix to senior management members from the major sugar sales company, Taikoo Sugar from Hong Kong. Okinawa Flour Milling representatives told the visitors, who were visiting Okinawa to purchase sugar, that deep-fried donuts can be shipped using chilled transportation.

Taikoo Sugar has an affiliate company that handles airline food catering services for Cathay Pacific Airways. They showed interests in items such as bread made with the brown sugar flour mix, which could be used in in-flight meals. Penny Wang, the director of the company, was impressed with the chewy texture of the Pão de Q mix donuts, and asked whether or not the amount of sugar in the mix can be adjusted.

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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