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Konjac Farming Innovation stimulates sales growth

GunmaApril 29 (News about Japan) – Twelve years after entering the global konjac marketplace, known in Japan as konnyaku, Akiji Sawaura has seen his company’s revenue grow 2.5 times and its workforce double. However, his journey was not without challenges.

Navigating adversity in agriculture

Sawaura’s resilience in overcoming adversity while keeping an eye on the future of Japanese agriculture has paved the way for new ambitions. The continuation of beloved traditional flavors into the future was evident during a visit to Showa Village in October. The konjac harvest had just begun on the farm, where 90% of Japan’s domestic production takes place.

A unique approach to Konjac farming

At the age of 48, Masashi Sohura, who has been committed to organic farming without chemical fertilizers for more than two decades, runs a konjac processing plant that is rarely managed by a single konjac farmer. “It smells wonderful in here,” he commented as the freshly harvested konjac was steamed.

Innovative products that transform Konjac’s image

The farm produces up to 170 different products, converting konjac into various forms, such as shirataki noodles essential for sukiyaki and meat potato dishes, and a new product, rice-formed konjac, marketed as a low-calorie option for mixing with rice for diet conscious people. consumers.

In 2012, concerns spread about the blow to Japanese agriculture from joining the TPP. Nevertheless, Sawaura’s proactive approach to tackling overseas markets highlighted his innovative spirit. In mid-October, his efforts were on display in Paris, where he conducted market research at one of the world’s largest food sampling fairs.

Gaining international interest

Sawaura’s konjac products, including those designed to appeal as a healthy food option, have captivated buyers from Italy, intrigued by its potential as a diet food. His office in Showa Village was buzzing with activity as various konjac-based dishes were prepared to showcase the versatility and appeal of the products.

Konjac is making its mark in Europe

Despite konjac being relatively unknown in Europe, Sawaura sees significant potential: “It is a very interesting challenge to make konjac known in European countries.” In mid-November, Claudia’s health food store in Turin, Italy, introduced Sawaura’s shirataki as a low-calorie pasta alternative, which proved popular among consumers.

Embracing the joy of farming

As Sawaura reflects on the journey, he enjoys meeting and exceeding customer expectations, underscoring that farming can be a very rewarding career. “It’s a powerful feeling to see your work appreciated,” he notes. “Farming is not just about hard work; it is about innovating and enjoying the process.”

Source: BIZ

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