Although produced in small volumes, Japanese fruits and vegetables have received increasing attention from overseas customers. Nihon-Agri is a professional exporter of a variety of Japanese fresh produce. With increasing demand, lately, the company started to export sweet potatoes to a few south-East Asian countries and has received a good response from the market.
Yasuko is the PR manager of the Japanese fruit export company Nihon Agri Inc. “Japanese sweet potatoes are usually harvested in October. Products can be stored year-round in a strictly managed environment. The storage technique is only used in Japan, which gives the Japanese sweet potato a rich sweetness and a very special taste. We are very proud of this healthy snack, as it keeps you full even with a small portion, and with its rich fiber, the potato also helps with constipation.”
Thailand is one of Nigon-Agri’s main overseas markets. The company exports around 14 tons of sweet potato to Thailand per month. “These products are mainly sold to local supermarkets. Together with sweet potatoes, at the same time, we also provide sweet potato roasting machines to some supermarkets, so that consumers can buy ready-to-eat ones directly at the supermarket. The sweet wonderful enticing aroma helps us attract more people, which in turn boosts our sales.
“Sweet potatoes are sold under our brand name, ‘Essence’. The export price varies by season and import amount. The retail price of sweet potatoes is about 100-120B [3.14-3.77 USD] per 500g bag in Thailand and 1.1 SGD [0.79 USD] for 100g in Singapore. Products can be packed in different types of packages based on clients’ requests.” Yasuko said.
Besides sweet potatoes, apples are also one of Nigon-Agri’s main products. “At the moment, most apples on the market are Fuji apple from cold storage. In the past few weeks, the apple price increased due to the supply shortage towards the end of the apple season.” Yasuko said, “We see the fresh produce demand in Hong Kong is recovering. We opened a few new distribution channels to retail supermarkets, which boosted our exports. In terms of the total amount, currently, we ship about 50 – 200 ton per week.”
When talking about the recent coronavirus outbreak, Yasuko said, “Fewer consumers have been going out to the supermarket for groceries, which negatively impacts retail supermarket sales a lot, but more and more Japanese consumers have started buying online.”