Case Studies of Business Recovery in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, 2019-2020

Soma Cucumber PicklesThese pickle subject a variety of cucumber known as Tokiwa cucumber to the strongest lactic acid fermentation based on the belief of Kanno Kikuo, the company’s first president, “cucumber is only delicious when fermented with lactic acid.” Today it remains one of Kanno’s flagship products.Accompaniment to a chat over teaIn the Soma region, pickles are not only eaten with white rice but are also an essential accompaniment to tea and alcohol. They are also common gifts, and KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS’s production period for year-end gift products is its busiest time of year. KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS Co., Ltd. 05KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS had many long-selling products and management was solidKANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS Co., Ltd. manufactures and sells pickles, with a focus on pickled cucumber that has undergone lactic acid fermentation. The company was founded in 1940 but had been doing business since before that in Minamisoma throughout successive generations. At one time the proprietor would place eggs in a basket and walk around selling them. The image stuck, and even today the company is known as the “Egg Store” locally. Beginning with Soma cucumber pickles, a hit product first released in 1981, the company developed a wide selection of long-selling products and management was also strong. In 1994, KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS opened the store Misozuke-Dokoro Kounokura (lit. “Miso Pickles Store: Aroma Storehouse”) along the National Highway Route 6 near its head office. Iwai Tetsuya, general manager of Kounokura, shared his thoughts about the store. “This is an area without any conve-nience stores nearby, so we opened the store based on the concept of giving drivers a place to enjoy a cup of tea and relax. When people around here have a chat over tea, it is usually accompanied by pickles.”KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS’s approach was the embodiment of a store with deep ties to the community practicing generous hospitality.President Kanno issues an order: “Let’s bring out a new product!”The Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011. Fortunately, all employees of the company were safe and the head office, plant and store buildings were only partially damaged. For this reason some employees even showed up for work to help with clean-up works immediately afterwards. But amid the confusion immediately following the incident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the information coming out was confusing, and the company decided to suspend business to allow employees to evacuate on March 14.Kashima-ku of the city of Minamisoma is 32 kilometers away from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the end, no evacuation order was issued and most of the employees reassembled on March 24.Then on April 4, the company resumed business. However, during the time it was shut down, product in the supermarket shelves were replaced by products from other companies, and due to negative reputation caused by the incident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, many wholesalers and retailers were reluctant to deal with produce from Fukushima Prefecture. “The only vehicles driving by along the National Highway in front of our eyes were from the Self-Defense Force, police, or related to the accident at the nuclear power plant,” recalls Iwai. Under those circumstances, there were no prospects for Kounokura sales to recover. On top of that, some people left Soma to evacuate their fami-lies, and 10 percent of the employees left.Morale at the company was in a downward spiral. But it was under those circumstances President Kanno issued an order: “Let’s bring out new products!”There was plenty of time to spend thinking up new products. After re-peated discussions based on the shared concept of “developing products that have never existed before and will impress people when they eat it,” they 2030●Monkfish Liver Misozuke went on sale.2013●Hokkaido Cream Cheese Misozuke went on sale.2014●Duck Misozuke went on sale.2015●Hamameshi Whitebait Ginger went on sale.●Feb.: Store opened at S-PAL Sendai.2016●Blue Cheese Misozuke went on sale.201716.2●Black Pepper Cream Cheese Misozuke went on sale.●Category award received in JR East Souvenir Grand Prix 2018.201820(expected)●Sep.: Herb Salt Cream Cheese Misozuke went on sale.●Dec.: Garam Masala Cream Cheese Misozuke went on sale.20192011●Apr.: Kounokura resumed operation.●Dec.: Cream Cheese Misozuke went on sale.2012●Cream Cheese Haccho Misozuke went on sale.●June: Store opened at S-PAL Fukushima.12200841613. toward recoveryTrends in Kura Daigo series sales percentage (%)April–March of following year[SDGs] Toward 2030By providing new pickles in response to changing dietary lifestyles, Kanno will suggest new ways for consumers to enjoy pickles and preserve the region’s beloved pickle culture.Proposing new ways to enjoy pickles and preserving food culture rooted in the regionGovernment support for SME groupE19

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