Tokyo Fresh Direct started with the intention to give consumers access to a wide variety and quality Japanese products at affordable prices. Our products have passed the rigorous test of the local palates and they are supplied to premium supermarkets and restaurants in Japan.
We offer a wide selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood that are air-flown in on orders and ready-to-eat foods in express delivery. To make things even better, we have condiments to help you whip up authentic Japanese meals, snacks/desserts to impress your guests, beverage and alcohol to end the night, making us a one-stop online Japanese grocer.
After graduating from University, I devoted myself full-time dealing with the car export business in a major trading company, Marubeni, Belgium.
During my free time, I would explore the places to better understand their cultures and that was how I discovered all the beautiful farms and Auberge of Holland, Germany, and France. I was truly in awe by the beautiful panoramic view of European agriculture, and it felt like I had a glimpse of my future – to be involved in agriculture-related business.
Fast forward to a decade later, I was fortunate to be a wholesaler of Yamagata's agricultural products. While working together to expand the sales channels fruits to department stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, I founded "Japan Agrigate" in 2010, the predecessor of WeAgri Inc.
However, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in March 2011 immediately after its establishment, it was indeed a huge setback.
We started with 10 cases of Japanese grapes:
Despite the situation, I used the opportunity to hit the reset button to restart and pivot with a purpose. I took advantage of my previous experience as Shosha-man and started exporting to Asia which unlocked new business opportunities. Back then, Hong Kong was a popular market due to its relatively lax food regulation, but I saw Singapore as a potential market and decided to reprioritize my strategies.
Thanks to the strong support of my friends and ex-colleagues, I was given the opportunity to take part in the establishment of Export-Organization.
Starting a business overseas is a long and precarious journey with a lot of international efforts required. We started with 10 cases of Japanese grapes, sold to a local supermarket. Until then, Japanese fruits were usually treated as luxury goods and sold in showcases that are deemed beyond the reach of the average consumers.
I negotiated hard to have them lined up like any other fruit to broaden the distribution and saw an immediate increase in sales. By pricing it within the same range as fruits from Europe and the United State, it attracted new consumers from the bigger untapped market. All along there was a potential pool of consumers who enjoy and appreciate quality fruits as well. Seeing people going for "Made in Japan" products instilled confidence in me once again. And soon, our Japanese fruits were also popular among the higher income group.
It was at this moment that I knew, regardless of income group, people trust and appreciate ‘Made in Japan’ products.
My business in the Singapore market has given me lots of insights into the potential for Japanese agriculture to penetrate the global market.
At that time, Japanese farmers were skeptical of fruits export as their greatest worry is having the quality and taste of their proud produce compromised during the 3-4 weeks of transportation.
All these trials and errors unearthed some discoveries for us as well as the Japanese farmers.
Take for example Japanese sweet potatoes. Initially, the Japanese farmers were afraid to export them for fear they would not be able to withstand the heat during transportation. Interestingly, heat helps to trigger a special enzyme that breaks down the tasteless, chalky starch into maltose and it turned out to be a huge hit among the people here in Singapore due to their preference for sweet things. There are a lot of learning and relearning involving cultures, taste profile and preference. A success story like this gives us and our fellow farmers hopes.
see full interview here
|Company||ASEAN-JAPAN AGRIGATE PTE. LTD.|
|Address||Blk 10 Lakepoint Drive #08-62 Singapore 648927|
|Parental Company||WE AGRI INC. , located in Japan.|
|Company||WE AGRI INC.|
|Address||4F Yajima Bldg., 7-11-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061,Japan|
|Capital Stock||95.1 million JPY|
|Representative||CEO Iwato Kenji|
|Bank||Mitsui-Sumitomo Bank and other.|
|Business||1. Wholesale and retail of agricultural produce & processed agricultural products|
|2. Consulting service of agriculture|
|Principal Stockholders||Management, Techfirm Holdings.|
|Subsidiary||ASEAN-JAPAN AGRIGATE PTE. LTD.|
|Our Vision||The New "Local production for local consumption" - With the state-of-art technology of information and logistics, we aim to unify the Asian market.|
|Our Mission||Expand Japanese high-quality taste around the world.|