Case Study: Nuhealth Group / SME / Want to Sell their Products in Japan

Nuhealth Group – from BG

Company Nuhealth JSC is a young company, founded by experienced and ambitious professionals with more than 20 years of experience and exceptional know-how in the production of food products.

SME Activities: Producer of healthy brown rice snacks, such as brown rice cakes, chips and rolls
Size: Up to 100 employees
Interests in Japan: Want to sell their products in Japan

 

 

www.nuhealth.zone

Driven by a desire for healthy and fulfilling life style caused by increasingly hectic daily lives, the company did a large 2-year R&D, to create their healthy portfolio.  Nuhealth`s rice cakes found a place in the market for healthy food because of the excellent selection of grains, which contribute to better metabolism of the body, supply a sufficient amount of fiber that help to regulate the stomach flora and urinary system, as well as sufficient amount of energy contained in one piece. Excellent included in the composition of different diets. 

The main used grains are brown rice, black imperial rice, chia, quinoa, spelled, etc. The factory is certified with IFS, HALAL, soon expected to complete the KOSHER

WHY JAPAN?

Detelina Savcheva-Stoynova an international market consultant at Nuhealth group, participated in HRTP programme in 2014, organised by the EU-Japan Centre. Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova indicated that she was always very fond of Japan, its culture, people and history which triggered her further interest in learning more about the country and eventually doing business in Japan.

WHY HRTP MISSION?

By attending the Human Resources Training Programme (HRTP) programme, Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova wanted to understand the complexities of Japanese business culture which is something difficult to comprehend if there is no direct contact with Japan. Thus, the former participant highly appreciated the Japanese language classes, business seminars and visits to different companies throughout the 5-week programme in Japan.

Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova also noted that if anyone wants to do business in Japan, it is crucial to understand key elements of Japanese behaviour: “If you want to do business with Japanese or establish a personal relationship, if you want to go further, you need to know who is standing in front of you (who are you dealing with) and HRTP programme really gave me the basis for it”.

Before going to this programme, the participant did not know a lot about Japanese business culture, business point of view or mentality of Japanese people in general, but the programme enabled her to understand a lot about the latter subjects.

STEPS TAKEN

After the HRTP, Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova was inspired to develop different projects which would cover different international markets, including Japan’s. Recently, she has started a new project for healthy food products (with one particular product in mind - brown rice crackers) and opened the factory in October 2016. Before this project came into place, Detelina has studied the market and Japan seemed to be one of the main target markets for their production. Before going to HRTP mission, she did not have any contacts in Japan, but with a help of the EU-Japan Centre in Tokyo, she managed to gain a lot of useful contacts which could eventually lead to potential business partnerships. Currently, Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova is focusing all her efforts on developing their product, its packaging and the marketing strategy. The effort till now is successful - the first portfolio of brown rice cakes, chips and rolls is already on the market and in February, together with their Japanese partners the products will be launched during the BTW exhibition, a Japanese supermarket trade show in Tokyo. In January the products will be also shown at the ISM exhibition in Cologne, Germany. In addition, as seen as a great success from the start in October, a second product line – Bio brown rice crackers will be launched in a Bio exhibition in London in April. From October 2016 till now, Ms. Savcheva-Stoynova already succeeded to position the products on the markets in: Belgium, Greece, Macedonia, Cyprus, Malta, Brazil, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Kuwait, Venezuela, Panama, Spain and Bulgaria.

CHALLENGES

According to Detelina, the biggest challenge might be to sell their product - brown rice crackers - in the very demanding Japanese market. HRTP programme has helped her to realise peculiarities of the Japanese market, in particular, how difficult it might be to comply with standards of Japanese consumers, to pitch the product and convince Japanese of the quality and success of their product. The previous participant of HRTP programme strongly believes that if someone wants to sell their product overseas, especially in Japan, one should be very attentive to detail and careful how to present and market their production. She is positive that company’s designers did a great job for a design of a product and hopes that the Japanese consumers will appreciate it as much as she does.

CURRENT STATUS – NEXT STEPS

Currently, Nuhealth group with its newest product has strong ambitions to ensure their place in the Japanese market (and in other parts of Asia). Different historical, cultural, economic aspects covered in the programme, have brought a lot of useful insights for forthcoming business ventures in Japan.

Interview made with Ms. Detelina Savcheva-Stoynova, International Market Consultant at Nuhealth group.