HONG KONG – Japan’s leading instant noodle-maker Nissin Foods Holdings Co. will enter the vegetable beverage market in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, tapping its sales network to capture potential demand from health-conscious consumers.
The company says Nissin Foods Co., its Hong Kong subsidiary, will establish a joint venture in the city next month with Kagome Co., a Japanese juice and sauce ingredient-maker, to import and sell Kagome’s vegetable drinks in the three markets.
The joint venture, with a registered capital of $5 million Hong Kong dollars ($640,000), is owned 70 percent by Nissin’s Hong Kong unit and 30 percent by Kagome, which is based in Nagoya.
A tomato drink and three flavors of mixed vegetable and fruit beverages, all Japanese-made under the Kagome brand, will be introduced to the three markets, according to a joint statement.
Kiyotaka Ando, CEO of Nissin’s manufacturing and sales arm, which was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last December, said that the joint venture will aim to make inroads in southern China first with the help of more than 1,000 Nissin sales staff in the mainland, in addition to the two Chinese territories.
“Soy milk drinks have seen solid sales in Hong Kong and the mainland amid growing health awareness,” said Ando, the grandson of instant noodle inventor and company founder Momofuku Ando, adding that he expects soy milk-based vegetable and fruit drinks will be welcomed there if launched in the future.
In Hong Kong, a wide variety of Nissin’s packaged instant noodles have been marketed at local-style cafes, restaurants and supermarkets since their introduction in the mid-1980s, enjoying huge popularity.
The joint venture plans to use the Nissin subsidiary’s sales force and diversified marketing channels to promote vegetable beverages, which have yet to become common in local markets except for Japanese-made drinks sold mainly at Japanese supermarkets, Ando said.
Nissin and Kagome will also consider producing vegetable drinks locally after ensuring there is sizable demand in the markets, he said.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5