Hi everyone! Here’s what Annie from Northlink thought and learned on the Japan trip!
THANK YOU ST. PIERRES FOR GIVING ME SUCH A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT JAPAN. IT WILL REMAIN AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE THROUGHOUT MY LIFE!!!
During this amazing trip, we visited 5 different factories, each with their own unique and distinct company culture. Vinegar and mayo companies stood out to me.
The vinegar factory’s experience was fantastic.
During our visit to the complex, the factory crew showed us their professional and intricately thought-out manufacturing system. By using an abundance of advanced and intelligent machinery, the workers were able to pay great attention to all the details! There is a unique QR code for all of the products available, which is used to allocate ingredients among the variety available to the customized pallets before processing.
This scan system minimizes human error when recalling ingredients and makes the production process more efficient. They produce more than 400 products in that factory complex alone, half of which use customized recipes like the concentrated vinegar we use at St. Pierre’s. They offers their customers a large variety of options, just as St. Pierre’s does every day to our customers. Their high regard for food hygiene standards (look at us wearing sterile suits!) is also very impressive.
Finally, the crew showed us a wide arrangement of their newly developed products, which were intriguing. The taste of the orange ponzu sauce in the white pack is also highly compatible with our nigiri products, and their new Yuzu vinegar could be perfect to add an extra dimension to our salad products.
On the second day, we visited the mayonnaise centre — another fabulous experience. They have a very creative showroom with a design that appeals especially to children. Their team also showed us a gallery filled with the history behind and process of innovation and production of the mayonnaise franchise.
We then had an interesting and constructive conversation with the product development team. They are currently developing a new type of mayonnaise that’s made out of rice without the use of egg yolk. This will be a great gluten-free and vegan product that will gain popularity within the NZ market.
Meanwhile, they also introduced us to a trendy food in Japan, the Onigirazu (sushi sandwich). We folded different ingredients into sushi rice and nori with mayonnaise. It tasted delicious and looked easy to eat with one hand on the run. I think this is a product that’s worth trying out and promoting in St. Pierre’s.
We also got to try their version of the spicy mayonnaise. The product had a very distinctive but amazing taste, which we believe our customers would love a lot.
Other than the factories, we also went to a variety of other establishments in Tokyo, such as Kappabashi Cook’s Town in Asakusa and the department store food halls in Yokohama and the Shibuya district. The variety on display in the Shibuya food hall was especially impressive, featuring a massive array of different flavours and uniquely interesting merchandise.
The locals focus specifically on the preparation and service of their various products and beverages in the most appetizing and culturally stimulating way, offering a very wide variety of delectable options, and stimulating customer enthusiasm. I think that this was very impressive, and I found their range of rice ball options to be mind-numbingly diverse. In the food hall, we got to try a few of these rice balls, including innovative creations like the Miso Onigiri which had left an unforgettable impression on me.
I think that we can try to implement products such as these in our stores. The variety on display there vastly outshines the availability at our stores, and I think that we’d greatly benefit from an increase in culinary diversity. By embracing variety in our shops similar to the food halls, we could also set our store and company apart from local competitors and enhance customer satisfaction.
Department store food halls (new flavours, ways of serving food, service ideas, interesting merchandise).
Overall, this has been a very memorable and insightful trip where we saw, heard, and learned a variety of new and exciting ideas.
IF YOU ARE EVER GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GO AND EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF!