Jetro expanding Nara food programme to include B2C segment

19/03/2023 11:27 AM

By Christine Lim

NARA, March 19 (Bernama) -- The Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) will be expanding its marketing programme promoting food from Nara Prefecture to include the business-to-consumers (B2C) segment in Malaysia.

Jetro Nara chief director Mikiko Kigawa said the programme expansion aimed to create a stable sales channel for Nara food products in Malaysia by leveraging business-to-business (B2B) matching between Nara food suppliers and potential Malaysian buyers as well as introducing the originality and uniqueness of food culture from Nara. 

She emphasised that healthy and natural food products from the prefecture have high potential in the Malaysian market, which has a growing interest in Japanese food.

“From April 1, 2023, our programme will move into a new phase based on our remarkable footprint until now. It means that Jetro Nara is starting B2C market promotions for retail or restaurant businesses,” she told Bernama in an interview recently in conjunction with the Nara food promotion programme organised by Jetro.

The current Nara food promotion programme has focused on building business relationships between Nara food producers and potential buyers in Malaysia.

Since September 2022, Kigawa said Jetro Nara has arranged over 20 B2B matchings, mainly targeting healthy and natural products that include many Muslim-friendly items, including natural food like tea, somen noodle, rice and kakigori (shaved ice).

“We are exploring market opportunities to introduce Nara’s high quality, traditional and natural food items to Malaysia, including Muslims,” she said.

Kigawa said Jetro Nara is expecting a closer relationship with Mamami Shoppe, one of Malaysia’s main distributors in the healthy food segment and a member of the B2B programme, through collaboration in promoting the Nara brand to Malaysian consumers.

“We are still looking for new potential distributors for other categories, like fruits, alcoholic beverages, and designed homeware to expand the market network to introduce variable items from Nara to Malaysia,” she said.

Kigawa pointed out that the export value of Japanese agricultural and food products to Malaysia in 2021 was 1.4 times higher compared to the previous year.

She said Malaysia is one of the most promising markets for Japanese food on the back of increasing the income level, healthy consciousness and the demand for authentic Japanese food.


Uniqueness of Nara food and cuisine

Kigawa emphasised that Jetro is also planning to increase awareness of food and cuisine from Nara by organising a food fair in Kuala Lumpur this year.

“Nara, the birthplace of Japanese culture, is known for its authentic food that preserves the traditional techniques of preparation and exquisite taste,” she said.

According to Kigawa, Jetro Nara has invited a high-potential buyer and a media representative under the Nara food promotion programme in February this year to experience Nara’s culture and enhance recognition of the prefecture’s tradition concerning the uniqueness of Nara’s cuisines and products.

She said as part of the programme, tours of Ikeri Co Ltd’s somen noodle factory and Nishiki Soy Sauce Co Ltd’s soy sauce factory were conducted to improve awareness of the uniqueness of Nara’s food process preserved for over one hundred years.

“In spite of modern mechanisation and innovations, Ikeri maintained its hand-stretching process in making somen noodles since 1850.

“As for Nishiki Soy Sauce, the traditional way of making soy sauce is preserved in the factory in Ikaruga town based on Nara’s roots of making soy sauce with its distinctive flavour called hishio developed during ancient times,” she said.

Kigawa added that a tour was also organised at Nara’s famous kakigori (shaved ice) shop, Housekibako, to introduce Nara’s desert sensation based on the ancient technique of ice storage as well as a Nara Shogaku’s store that sells Nara’s sweets and snacks.

For more details about Jetro’s concerning export and promotion of Japanese agricultural and food products, please refer to the following website at


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