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

The cucumber kimchi product Nomaoizuke. The product is created in the image of Soma Nomaoi, a traditional festival held in Soma.came across the idea that a “misozuke version of cream cheese might be interesting” and proceeded with devel-opment. They entered the prototyping stage immediately, and in December, just nine months after the disaster, Kou-nokura began exclusive sales of “Cream Cheese Misozuke.” The new product proved to be a hit beyond their expecta-tions. “When it was released it sold out immediately in a flurry of momentum,” says Iwai. There were also other aspects that set it apart. First, a relatively young-er generation of customers was buying the product more, compared with the company’s traditional products, and secondly, since that kind of product was not available anywhere else, it was an important offering in terms of manage-ment strategy because it would not be affected by price competition.Despite the risk KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS worked to expand direct salesKANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS continued to develop products that went in the same direction as cream cheese miso-zuke. The line of products that departed from the traditional definition of pickles was named Kura Daigo (“storehouse deliciousness”) series, and the number of items in the series has increased each year. Iwai explained the thinking behind the Kura Daigo series.“People are eating less and less traditional pickles, but there is nothing we can do about changes in people’s dietary lifestyles. We don’t intend to restore the old dietary lifestyles in which people eat these traditional pickles. Moving forward, we have to propose varieties of pickles that match these changes taking place. The Kura Daigo series represents our aim to develop new pickles that use no preservatives, colors or chemical season-ing, and to impress people when they eat them. This series has developed new demand and customers, and marks the pursuit of ongoing product development.”The Kura Daigo series falls into a higher price range than conventional pickles products and is not well suited to being distributed through wholesalers, trading companies and major supermar-kets. Focusing on sales of the series required a major shift from the existing business model, and that meant taking risks on the sales side. But the presi-dent’s orders were clear: “Even if it’s risky, let’s increase our direct sales!” Under the policy of the president, Kounokura opened new stores at S-PAL Fukushima and S-PAL Sendai, secured sales corners at Joban Express-way service areas and Michi-no-Eki roadside stations, and also began deal-ing directly with department stores and upscale supermarkets. What provided the impetus for developing new sales destinations was cream cheese misozuke product winning an award for “souvenir you most want to give your family” in the JR East Souvenir Grand Prix 2018. Sales were started at Cream Cheese and MisozukeKANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS had previously dealt with cream cheese and both the manufacturing and development managers of the company were aware that cream cheese and miso went well together. They had a feeling that the novel combination could be a hit.Kounokura S-PAL Fukushima and Sendai branchesS-PAL locations are large-scale commercial facilities directly connected to train stations and attract a wide variety of customers. These two outlets fulfill their role as antenna shops and feedback from customers is reported each day and shared throughout the company.FUKUSHIMA231E20

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