Blog: Dean BestJapanese snack maker Calbee wants bigger bite of overseas markets

Dean Best | 6 October 2011

Calbee, the Japanese snacks company, is planning to be the latest food and drinks company in the country to make a serious assault on international markets.

An ageing population and stagnant growth in Japan has, for a few years now, forced the company's food and drink manufacturers to look abroad. Kirin Holdings, the beer and dairy group is a prime example, as both just-food and just-drinks have reported in recent years.

Calbee already has a presence outside of Japan. In June, it announced a venture in South Korea with local confectioner Haitai Confectionery Co. The Japanese firm also sells products in China, Singapore, Thailand and the US, where it has a 100% subsidiary, Calbee America.

However, in an interview with Reuters this week, Calbee president and COO Shunji Ito wanted to expand further in Asia and North America.

Ito said Calbee wanted to boost its overseas sales from the current 3% of turnover to 30% by 2020.

"I see three ways for us to go overseas: independently, together with a partner or through our relationship with PepsiCo," Ito told Reuters. PepsiCo owns around 20% of Calbee.

"What shape our strategy will take in those three areas (China, North America and the Asian region) is something I want to be able to report by next March at the latest."

We will, of course, be watching with interest.


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