Some 63 OTOP food producers from Luzon and Visayas gathered at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City last August 3-4 to receive practical tips from a dispatched Japanese expert on how to enhance their products to gain access to the Japanese market.
These are beneficiaries of an assistance program undertaken by DTI Regional Operations and Development Group in collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organization or JETRO.JETRO is a one-stop center which is funded by the Japanese government. It offers support services to foreign firms seeking market entry to Japan. JETRO works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. For more information on JETRO, please visit their website at: www.jetro.go.jp
Among the services provided by JETRO are: organizing and sponsoring local seminars about doing business in Japan; providing information on Japanese market and guiding investors in putting up a business in Japan.
The seminar of August 3 in Mandarin Hotel aimed at preparing OTOP food producers in marketing their products in Japan through the FOODEX Japan 2010 which will be held by March next year. The seminar provided information on Japan’s business / investment environment to guide the participants in gaining access to the Japanese market.
“To be successful in gaining access to Japanese market, you should be equipped with necessary information”, JETRO Director, Koji Hanawa, told OTOP food producers who were present in the seminar.
To equip OTOP food producers with necessary information to gain access to Japanese market, JETRO dispatched an expert in Japan’s food processing industry to inform OTOP food producers on ways to make their products acceptable to Japanese taste and preferences.
During the seminar, Ken Ito, a food processing expert dispatched by JETRO, presented the latest trends in the Japanese food market. He also discussed demographics of Japan population, food preferences of different age group, food distribution channels in Japan and how to start exporting food products to Japan.
“More Japanese are above the age of 40 and this group is becoming more health conscious; they like to know the health benefits of the food they buy to the extent that they prefer to be informed of the calories and fat content of food sold in the market ”, said Ken Ito. Ken Ito added that the age group open to eating foreign foods is the 20-40 year old age bracket as are the women in terms of gender.
“The Japanese are particular with packaging… better if you individually packed your products to make them more acceptable to the 20-40 age-bracket”, Ito told the OTOP food producers present in the seminar.He also pointed out the added value of being innovative in order to command higher prices in the Japanese market.
The participants were happy about their experience with Ken Ito. OTOP food producers had a one-on one consultation with JETRO on how their products can be further developed to make them more suitable to the Japanese market. The one-on-one consultation ran for two days after the half day seminar.
The Regional Operation and Development Group of the Department of Trade and Industry shouldered the transportation expenses of participating OTOP food producers while JETRO shouldered the accommodation and food expenses. By collaborating, DTI and JETRO allow small Filipino food producers gain access to the difficult Japanese market through the provision of needed assistance.,?
Source: Department of Trade, http://www.otop.philippines.org