Food consumption in Japan had been growing rapidly as a result of population growth and the rising lifestyle levels that accompanied high economic growth. However, with a low birthrate and changes in the age structure of the population resulting a shrinking population, food consumption has begun to decline. If this trend continues, there is the risk that consumption 30 years from now may drop to the 50 million ton level – the same level as in 1960. Overseas, however, we expect food consumption to continue growing in the same way that Japan experienced before. In addition, interest in Japanese foods, agricultural products, and food culture has surged after "Washoku" Japanese cuisine was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Under these conditions, the ZEN-NOH Group faces the urgent task of maintaining and expanding agricultural production in Japan, while also promoting exports and targeting inbound visitors in order to capture overseas demand and boost the agriculture and livestock industry.
As the ZEN-NOH Group is constructing systems to expand exports, on April 1, 2017 we newly established Agricultural Products Export Promotion Division within ZEN-NOH to carry out the export-related operations that were previously conducted by multiple divisions. This new division will centralize the export operations that are currently carried out by ZEN-NOH and ZEN-NOH subsidiaries, and it is working to expand overseas export sites for ZEN-NOH and our company.
To support this goal, our company has established the Business Development Department, Rice and Grains, Fruits and Vegetables Department and Livestock Department and we are reinforcing our export systems and personnel. Overseas, we are working to expand systems and personnel at existing sites, while establishing new sites in key export countries. By so doing, we will identify needs in these countries (market-oriented strategy), and identify and generate new demand. At the same time, we are working to construct an export supply chain through measures for quality preservation and cost competitive export and distribution, and through strengthening of local sales functions.