It’s 5 am and our Panama team are all logging onto a video conference call with our Team in Japan, where it is 8pm on a Friday evening. We were also joined by our Chocolate Maker Team in Switzerland, Werner and Mitsue.
A few months ago, we shipped our first container of coffee, 9 metric tons, to our new partners in Japan, for them to market, sell and distribute locally.
Samples had been supplied and distributed in the months prior and the response from the consumers was extremely positive. At that time they indicated to our Team that they were very interested in testing (cupping) the coffee on arrival.
The container took 45 days to arrive in Japan, and a few weeks to clear customs, so this week was their first opportunity to access and provide the actual coffee to their prospects.
The purpose of the video call was for an update on proceedings.
So now, the purpose of the call switched, to how soon we could get them more coffee.
As a result of the immediate response by our prospects, our coffee team in Boquete have already begun processing and vacuum packing another 15 tons of green coffee, to be shipped out to Japan in about 3 weeks time.
The Japanese consumers are extremely impressed with the quality and consistency of our coffee and talks are already underway to provide our projected production, by farm and varietal, for the next 8 years!
This relationship is 2 years and several trips to Japan in the making, but we were confident that our coffee quality and the Japanese Team’s experience in the coffee and distribution industry, was a winning combination.
Not only are they interested in securing a long-term supply of our Specialty Coffee from Panama, they are equally interested in representing our fine-flavor Specialty Chocolate from Belize as well!
We had provided samples of our chocolate bar line (6 different bars) to the Japanese Team during our visits and as we speak, boxes of this full range of Belizean chocolate bars are being shipped to Japan to be distributed as samples to their network of clients.
Japan has a population of 126 million people who spend up to an astronomical 25.8% of their disposable income on food products. In contrast, the USA spends approx. 4.9%.
Add to this their desire for only the highest quality products and willingness to pay some of the highest prices in the world for coffee and chocolate, and you can see why we are targeting Japan as a major thrust in our product distribution planning. And, why we are so excited about the budding relationship that is now starting to bear fruit.
As a matter of fact, speaking of fruit, on one of our last marketing trips we saw melons for sale in a department store grocery for $200 each.
Stay tuned for more exciting news over the coming weeks, months and years!