Japan Focus: Asahi’s packaging and growth strategies, Kirin’s price hikes and gin exports, standards for non-chilled milk products

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

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Asahi Super Dry’s “relatable packaging” and the firm’s restructuring strategy, Kirin’s price hikes and new export markets for its craft gin brand, and revision of standards for non-chilled milk products feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

Enter the dragon: Asahi Super Dry on the importance of ‘relatable’ packaging in Asian markets

Asahi’s keystone premium beer Asahi Super Dry has launched pixel-inspired, dragon-themed cans in conjunction with the lunar new year in various key Asian markets.

Regional Head of Brand, Mag Lai, told FoodNavigator-Asia​ that having packaging that stands out on the shelf is no longer enough – it must convey an engaging narrative that appeals to consumers and fits with their values.

Pixel art is closely linked with the development of games and is symbolic of Japan’s  videogame culture in the 70s, prompting the brand to utilise it to convey the dragon as a traditional zodiac symbol.

Inflationary burdens: Kirin to implement fourth round of price hikes in a year to cope with ‘difficult’ conditions

Kirin Holdings has announced that it is implementing a fourth round of price hikes within the past 12 months to cope with current “difficult” conditions, including production cost increases.

The new round of price revisions are set to enter into force starting May 1, 2024, which will affect relevant products that are packed into large plastic containers.

Despite efforts and streamlined management to improve productivity and reduce costs across its business, prices of raw materials, containers and packaging materials, energy, logistics, and other related costs have continued to soar, Kirin Beverage President Toru Yoshimura said via a formal statement.

‘Maximising corporate value’: Asahi hopes massive group restructure will enhance advantages across four key markets

Asahi is hopeful that its recently completed large-scale group restructuring strategy will maximise its competitive advantages across its four major markets.

The restructuring included the establishment of a six-person Executive Committee as well as separate regional headquarters with individual CEOs in Japan, Europe, Oceania, and South East Asia.

Asahi recently announced its FY2023 full-year financial results, reporting 6.8% year-on-year growth in revenue to JPY2.77tn (US$18.4bn), and 3.9% year-on-year growth in core operating profits to JPY263.7bn (US$1.75bn).

Kirin aims to strengthen presence in spirits category through new export markets for its craft gin

Kirin has started exporting its craft gin Yatsushiro Distillery YATSU BOSHI to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea in a bid to gain a bigger share of the spirits market in Asia.

Having established itself as one of the most prominent beer brands from Japan, Kirin is now looking to revitalise the Japanese gin market overseas.

The firm aims to capitalise on the strong interest in Japanese food and culture among Australians, as well as the premium gin market in Singapore and Malaysia, and Korea’s status as a top exporter of distilled spirit.

Dairy updates: Japan to implement more stringent standards for non-chilled milk products this year

The Japanese government has announced plans to implement more stringent standards for milk products that do not require chilling, meaning that exporters of these items will need additional certificates before being allowed into the market.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has published a ministerial proposal to amend current dairy standards, calling for public and industry comment before these are expected to be enforced come mid-March this year.

The amendment will affect milk and dairy products that do not require storage at temperatures below 10°C or are permitted to be stored at room temperature. These include regular milks, modified milks, low-fat milks, skim milks, processed milks, liquid milk preparations, and other milk-based beverages.

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