On 19 March, Fonterra spoke to ANZCCJ members and guests about their journey in Japan. Neville Falkner, General Manager (Marketing and Development) at Fonterra, who has worked for the large dairy collective for 19 years including 5 years at Fonterra Japan (the rest of his time was spent in NZ) spoke on a number of areas.
Fonterra is one of the top five dairy companies in the world and its contribution to New Zealand’s economy is huge, with 22,000 employees around the world and making up to 25% of NZ’s exports. There are some important market trends in Japan that Fonterra in Japan has been focusing on. This includes: The milk supply gap in domestic production, increased demand for healthy dairy products due to an increasingly aging society, and overall higher health consciousness in the population. Due to a steady increase in dairy consumption and decrease in the number of Japanese dairy farmers, the gap between supply and demand for dairy products in Japan is getting wider. To expand its sales in Japan and contribute to Japanese society, Fonterra has made several products that meet the Japanese population’s nutritional needs – for more details of the Fonterra products in Japan as well as the trend in Japanese society please refer to the PPT attached to the ANZCCJ FAHC Minutes here.
Correcting consumers’ misperceptions and increasing market awareness around grass-fed versus grain-fed cows/dairy are also key things Fonterra has been working on. They have joined expos and collaborated with government organisations and other companies as well to try and educate consumers, but there needs to be some sensitivity to how the local market could respond if grass-fed is promoted too strongly as the healthier alternative.
Fonterra does have a retail presence in Japan – for example there are several shops selling Kapiti products open in Tokyo now and they are trying to promote the brand here in Japan. This is an NZ iconic brand but not Fonterra’s export brand – how to expand the business to retail in Japan is an ongoing challenge for Fonterra in Japan, but they are looking for further opportunities. One thing Neville added was that Fonterra (like other Australian and NZ companies) cannot expect the Japanese to come looking to find out who they are, saying “it’s our job to let them know about us”. See the website for more details on where to buy this product: https://www.kapiti.jp/now-available-in-japan.html.
A more detailed report of this meeting is available for ANZCCJ Member's only, including a copy of Neville's presentation.