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

05souvenir stores inside JR Sendai Station, as well as at Kitano Ace, the Shibuya Scramble Square branch of KINOKUNIYA supermarket and elsewhere.As a result, the percentage of direct sales and direct business dealings rose from under 10% prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake to its current level of around 20%. Moreover, selling an increased percentage of products unhindered by price competition with higher profit margins has greatly contrib-uted to stable management.Setting ambitious goals will elicit the spirit to take on challengesBy placing an emphasis on both aspects, changing what to sell by developing new products and changing the way products are sold by expanding direct sales and direct trade, KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS has entered a new growth track. At the same time, it also faces many challenges. One of these is the development of human resources. Fukushima Prefecture is dealing with serious labor shortages, and according to Iwai, “we may be unable to retain part-time employees in the future.” For this reason, there is a pressing need to save labor and boost efficiency in business operations, and the company has focused on inviting outside experts to provide in-house training. The effects of those efforts have gradually become apparent, and the mindsets of employees have started to change.Another major challenge is exports. KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS has its sights set on exporting to Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe. However, in order to realize the goal, the company has to extend the product expiration date from the current 90 days to 180 days and make its production plant HACCP compliant. KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS is awaiting the day that the export restrictions on products made in Fuku-shima is lifted while pursuing initiatives to solve the two aforementioned issues.Now the goal set by the president is ambitious: “striving to be Japan’s num-ber-one producer of lactic acid fermented cucumber.” As well as showing a resolve to preserve the food culture of pickles, setting ambitious goals might also be designed to elicit the spirit to take on challenges on the part of employees. As for just how important it is to take on challenges towards reaching goals, the road taken by KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS over the past nine years to over-come adversity with the aggressive management approach of developing of new products provides obvious proof.HACCPHACCP is a world-standard hygiene management method for ensuring safety when manufacturing foods and designates 12 procedures. Obtaining HACCP certification enhances the international credibility of a company and its products.KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS Co., Ltd. 1Exterior of the main store of Kounokura 2Kounokura’s general manager Iwai. The Japanese armor museum in the same building displays armor used in the Soma Nomaoi festival. 3Inside the high-ceilinged store, products from regular items to new offerings are crammed together. 4 At a table in the store anyone can enjoy taste testing the products. 5A wide assortment of flavors is available in the popular Cream Cheese Misozuke series. 6Caprese salad of cream cheese misozuke goes well with wine. KANNO TSUKEMONO FOODS recommends various recipes using the Kura Daigo series. 7Customer feedback received at each store is posted inside the production plant and referenced during product development.5476Decision by CEO to develop new products motivated staff.Small- and medium-sized companies can be selected and avoid price competition if they create a unique product, even if the market is small. Although this is easy to say, it is actually hard to execute. Bold decision made by CEO Kanno, having his back against the wall, should be highly evaluated. Points for successOpen the shop curtain with a long history and brush up the potentials of fermented foods.Taking an approach of not being afraid to develop sales channels, a weakness of many companies, is a reliable approach. In the current age of emphasizing health, fermented foods are items attracting attention. Please leverage the long years of technology and stores to create new unique fermented foods.Points of expectationComments and evaluationby Editorial board memberYUGE ToruE21

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