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With an annual sales of 1.6 billion yuan, the market share ranks first. How can this brand win the traditional bean products market| New Xiu

How many innovative solutions are there for a small piece of tofu?

By Cathy Wang

Source: foodaily daily food (id:foodaily)

Soybeans have been cultivated in China for 5000 years. Tofu, soymilk, dried soybeans, soybean skin and other soybean products made from soybeans are also one of the protagonists on the Chinese table.
Despite the relatively mature consumption habits of bean products, affected by factors such as short shelf life of fresh products, Limited sales radius, taste differences in different regions, and imperfect industry regulations and relevant standards, China’s bean products industry has a low concentration, relatively poor product types, and 90% of the market share is occupied by traditional handicraft workshops and regional small enterprises.
At the beginning of 2021, Zuming shares were listed on the small and medium-sized board of Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and the first share was born in China’s 120billion bean products market. However, as a leading enterprise in the national bean products industry, the sales volume of ancestral names accounts for less than 1%. How can bean products that have been handed down for thousands of years break the inherent concept and revitalize? How to bring innovative bean products that keep pace with the times to consumers?
When foodaily studied the Japanese soybean products market, a wide range of product types such as staple foods, desserts, snacks, beverages, functional foods, diversified food scene settings, exquisite product packaging, and soybean products seamlessly penetrated the daily diet of Japanese residents.
Image source: ryutsuu biz
According to the statistical data of the Japan legume Association, the intake of soy products by Japanese residents in 2018 was about 61.4g/ day. Compared with China, the dietary nutrition report of residents in some provinces and cities in May 2020 showed that even in Zhejiang, which “likes tofu most”, the per capita intake was only 19g / day.
In recent years, the rising price of soybean raw materials has led to high operating costs for small and medium-sized enterprises, and many soybean products enterprises are on the verge of bankruptcy; The aging population is becoming increasingly serious, the demand for soy products is gradually decreasing, and some family enterprises are forced to suspend their careers due to the lack of successors. According to the statistics of the Ministry of health, labor and welfare, from 2005 to 2018, the number of Japanese soybean products manufacturers fell sharply from about 13000 to 6000.
Image source: maff go. jp
Although the market is gradually shrinking, many enterprises still haven’t given up the pace of innovation and exploration. Among them, foodaily noted that since its establishment in 1951, Japan’s largest soybean product enterprise, “xiangmuwu”, has kept the traditional flavor of tofu while constantly innovating. Its product line covers almost all sub categories of tofu, with a market share of about one quarter of that of Japan.
In 2009, sumoya became the first enterprise in Japan’s bean products industry with a sales volume of more than 10billion yuan, with a sales volume of 32.7 billion yen in 2021, an 11 fold increase over 2003.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Then, how does Xiangmo house carry out product innovation around tofu and continuously inject fresh blood and vitality into the traditional bean products industry? What is the enduring business secret of brand growth against the trend, ranking firmly at the top of the industry? For the Chinese market with homologous food culture, what is the significance of Xiangmo house? Now let’s walk into this issue of [new Xiu] – Xiangmo house.
Synonym of Japanese bean products,
How did Xiangmo house brand come into being?
As early as the Edo era in the 17th century, tofu has entered the daily diet of Japanese people. During World War II, labor shortages, and soybeans were used as fuel, many soybean products factories struggled to survive. At the same time, Japanese people set off an upsurge of homemade tofu.
After World War II, Japan was extremely short of food and its supply was seriously insufficient. “If you do business, you still want to manage food”. In order to make a living, founder Jiang Yuan focused on tofu, which is nutritious and indispensable in daily diet.
Relying on the support of his sister’s family for tofu production equipment and craftsmen, Jiang Yuan opened his own tofu shop in 1951. In order to thank his sister’s family for their help, Jiang Yuan took the ancient name “Xiangmo” of Kanagawa Prefecture as the name of the tofu shop.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Since its establishment for more than 70 years, Xiangmo house has taken the “heart of gratitude” contained in the brand name as the foundation of its career development, and has taken “tradition is continuous innovation (unification, innovation, continuous innovation)” as its mission, deeply cultivated the research and development of bean products, and gradually expanded the factory capacity. Through delicious and healthy tofu products, we will convey our gratitude and respect to the vast number of consumers and partners who give brand help.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Fresh tofu, fried tofu, tofu hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, tofu noodles, tofu soup, tofu salad, tofu drinks, as well as pizza, cheese, sea urchin, plant meat made from tofu… Xiangmoya constantly refreshed the inherent cognition of traditional tofu, created a diversified consumption experience, and won many awards, such as the hit Award for excellent hit of the hit award of agricultural Japan Food News food, the best single award of the mognavi snack award, etc.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
So, how does Xiangmo house make a small piece of tofu full of tricks? What kind of product matrix has Xiangmo house built around tofu? What are the characteristics of these products? What pain points and needs of consumers have been solved? What kind of dietary trends have you followed or led? Now let’s walk into the tofu world of Xiangmo house.
Break the inherent cognition,
Xiangmo house unlocks tofu innovation with infinite possibilities
As Japan’s largest bean product enterprise, the number of products produced by Sumiya is up to more than 100. According to Nikkei business statistics, in 2002, xiangmoya produced and sold about 370 bean products, with an annual sales of 2.8 billion yen; Despite the consideration of improving production speed and product quality, only about 165 elite products were retained, and the annual sales of Xiangmo house soared to 9billion yen in 2008.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In recent years, with the aging of the population, the public’s attention to healthy and nutritious food has increased, and the changing eating habits, consumer demand has become increasingly diverse. So, how does Xiangmo house meet the needs of consumers, redefine tofu, and unlock the infinite possibilities of tofu innovation?
1) Silk tofu / kapok tofu: select raw materials, inherit skills, modern production, and the ultimate expression of traditional bean products
Similar to the domestic division of fresh tofu into old tofu (also known as North tofu), tender tofu (also known as South tofu) and lactone tofu, fresh tofu in Japan is mainly divided into silk tofu and kapok tofu. Among them, the concentration of silk tofu and soybean milk and the water content of the finished product are higher, and the texture is more delicate.
According to the WNI Japan survey, among hundreds of Japanese bean products, silk tofu and kapok tofu are the most commonly eaten daily, accounting for 53% and 40% respectively.
Image source: WNI Japan
Although Japan’s soybean self-sufficiency rate is only about 7%, xiangmoya has always insisted on using 100% Japanese non GMO soybeans to make silk tofu and kapok tofu. According to the specific origin of raw materials, the products are divided into Hokkaido products, Kyushu products and other sub categories.
Considering that there are many production processes of kapok tofu, and it takes a long time to manually pack three pieces at one time, in order to create product differentiation, xiangmowu took the lead in introducing automatic production equipment, and realized the commercialization of three piece packing of kapok tofu for the first time. Since then, two pack, four pack and Mini Pack have been launched successively, breaking the tradition of one pack and providing consumers with a variety of shopping options.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In addition, through the acquisition of brands such as “Xiushui”, “Jiangwu” and “jingchan nunnery” and the cooperation with the famous Japanese restaurant “Ju Naijing”, Xiangmo house has expanded the product matrix of high-end silk tofu and kapok tofu. Among them, “Xiushui” selects shangrenze, a famous spring in Japan, “craftsman house” retains the traditional flavor of Kansai, and “jingchan nunnery” inherits the classic Kyoto skills and brings the delicacy of traditional bean products to the extreme.
2) Thick fried tofu: soft as a fruit, creating a new era in the taste of fried tofu
In addition to the traditional silk tofu and kapok tofu to the extreme, the innovation of tofu texture and taste is also one of the directions that Xiangmo house actively explores.
Thick fried tofu is very common, but the thick fried tofu with soft texture has never come out. Xiangmowu innovatively combined the concept of heganzi with fried tofu, and launched the industry’s first thick fried tofu with soft texture (thick fried tofu with silk), bringing consumers a novel taste bud experience.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
The cooking method is simple and diverse, which can be eaten with soy sauce and ginger after baking. The skin is salty, fragrant and crisp, and the tofu is tender, smooth and chewy; It can also be stewed and eaten, fully combined with the soup, fluffy and soft. But no matter what kind of cooking method, thick fried tofu and fruit like texture will not disappear. The shelf life is also twice that of ordinary fried tofu.
Since its launch in May 2010, the product has been deeply loved by consumers. Many consumers said that they would not feel bored even if they ate it every day. In 2011, thick fried tofu won the hit Award for excellence in the food hit award of the Japan food news agency. The maximum daily sales volume was 160000 pieces, and the total sales volume exceeded 100 million in less than five years. In 2017, a total of 200million pieces were sold.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
3) Tofu hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot / Tofu noodles / Tofu salad, etc.: one person can eat it conveniently and quickly, and eat delicious protein easily
With the growing number of people living alone, consumers’ demand for eating alone surged. At the same time, the fast-paced lifestyle has quietly changed people’s attitude towards cooking. With the help of the “single / lazy economy” and the progress of production and processing technology, one-man fast food has developed rapidly. Xiangmo house is also thinking about how to make consumers eat delicious protein without firing, washing dishes and eating delicious protein easily.
In 2013, Xiangmo house launched one person convenient tofu hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot (ひとりり pot). Just put the tofu and seasoning sauce into the container and microwave for 3 minutes to enjoy a pot of delicious food.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
As a convenient instant food with tofu as the main character, tofu in xiangmowu tofu hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot is made of soybean milk cream (soybean milk), which has a rich flavor, and the protein content of each is more than 10g. Seasoning soup base is divided into two kinds: mellow soymilk (soymilk) and soybean juice (soymilk). Mellow soymilk brings mild and full taste, while soybean juice enhances the delicious flavor of seafood.
It has four seafood flavors with different spicy degrees, as well as more than ten flavors, such as grapefruit, matsutake, Chinese Mapo Tofu, etc. it is suitable for lunch, dinner, supper and any other scenes. The cooking method is simple, delicious, healthy and nutritious. In 2015, he won the excellent hit award of the food hit award of the Japan food news agency.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In order to meet the dietary needs of consumers for low-carbon water intake, xiangmowu launched tofu noodles (tofu noodles) made of 100% low-fat soybean milk.
As the main raw material of tofu noodles, low-fat soybean milk is made by using the USS (ultra soy separation) soybean separation technology, which is the first in the world to produce oil, to retain the original flavor and nutrition of soybeans to the greatest extent, and the noodles made of it are q-shaped; The soup bottom is matched with soybean soup juice and vegetable extract to restore Japanese rich broth.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Tofu noodles can be divided into two types: cold noodles in spring and summer and warm noodles in autumn and winter. When eating, you only need to put noodles, soup bottom and other ingredients into containers, mix them cold or microwave them for 3 minutes. Low sugar and low fat without losing the original taste, and easily increase the intake of protein and calcium.
The cold noodles series for cold mixing in spring and summer have sour, sweet and refreshing citrus, plum, tomato and other flavors. The warm noodles series for heating in autumn and winter include rich chicken soup, snapper soup and other flavors, which consumers can choose at will according to season and mood.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In addition, Xiangmo house also launched tofu salad series (とうふサラダ), baked tofu series (とオグゅン), tofu side dish series (おだし〠っこ) and other products, expanding the matrix of one person convenient and fast-food products, with simple cooking methods, unlimited eating scenes, and tastes that keep pace with the times, to meet the increasingly diverse needs of consumers.Dietary needs.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
4) Natural tofu / Tofu latte: expanding the consumption group of young women
In addition to improving the texture and taste of tofu and simplifying the cooking method of tofu, the expansion of female consumer groups aged 20-34 is also an important part of the innovation of xiangmowu bean products.
Japanese advertising and marketing industry usually divides women aged 20-34 into F1 groups. They have high consumption enthusiasm, are sensitive to fashion trends, and are willing to spend money for themselves, especially in beauty, health and skill improvement. Therefore, women aged 20-34 are also the main target consumers of most companies.
In order to meet the needs of young women for beauty and health, and hope that they can find the original charm of tofu and develop proactive consumption habits. Based on the in-depth insight into the diet and favorite preferences of F1 people, Xiangmo house launched a series of natural tofu (ナチュラルとうふ) focusing on “natural delicacy” and “natural health” in 2014.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
As a representative product of natural tofu series, “mascarpone cheese like tofu” takes soybean as the main raw material, which is natural and healthy; Buer oil production, with the blessing of USS soybean separation technology, creates a rich creamy texture; The package is exquisite and concise, which is convenient to carry; The eating method of replacing soy sauce topping with olive oil caters to the preferences of young women’s consumer groups, and has sold 3million pieces so far.
At the same time, Xiangmo House continues to provide it with new eating scenes and creative eating methods, so that young women can happily enjoy their daily intake of tofu. In 2017, Xiangmo house broke the inherent cognition of tofu again and launched a drinkable tofu drink (のとうふ).
Image source: TGC Facebook
Unlike soybean milk made by directly pressing soybeans, tofu beverage is made from soybeans into tofu and then into a beverage, which presents the rich texture of natural tofu Series in the form of beverage. With the fashionable packaging that can be drunk by inserting a straw, consumers do not need to prepare additional tableware and enjoy delicious tofu anytime and anywhere.
In addition, with the spread and popularization of “coffee culture”, in 2019, Xiangmo house integrated the concept of latte and tofu, and launched a tofu latte (とうふラテ) that contains 100% dairy products. The easy intake of vegetable protein in the style of coffee not only endows tofu with fashionable connotation, but also caters to the consumption preferences of young women.
Image source: Emma_ katahara
5) Beyond tofu series: new vegetarian fashion under the trend of plant-based fashion
The plant-based boom has swept the world, bringing new opportunities for the innovation of soybean products in Xiangmo house. After three years of research and development, in March 2018, xiangmowu launched a plant-based cheese (beyond tofu) based on tofu.
The low-fat soybean milk obtained by USS soybean separation technology is fermented, which does not contain any dairy products, but has the same texture and taste as cheese. Because it has a certain hardness and the property of heating and melting, it can be cut into pieces and sprinkled on pasta and pizza like real cheese, which is favored by dieters and vegetarians. As the product name shows, beyond tofu is a product that transcends tofu.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In August of the same year, Xiangmo house continued to increase its size and launched beyond tofu pizza. The dough is made of soybeans and does not contain wheat flour. The special production technology makes the crust of pizza dough crisp and the inside chewy. The dough is covered with a large amount of plant-based cheese (beyond tofu) based on tofu. After heating and baking, the flavor is rich. The design of the ship is convenient for consumers to take it with one hand.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Taking advantage of the popular trend of Greek yogurt, Xiangmo house launched the plant-based Greek yogurt (beyond tofu green-style) in March 2020. It has a milk free formula, mellow and smooth taste, rich in soybean protein, and is favored by lactose intolerant patients and healthy food and vegetarian consumer groups.
Source: Rakuten, Japan
In addition, in March this year, xiangmowu also launched a plant-based sea urchin (beyond tofu) made of tofu, which reproduces the texture and flavor of the classic Japanese sea urchin, expands the application of tofu on the table, and brings unlimited possibilities for tofu innovation to the industry and consumers.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Explosive products appear frequently and grow against the trend
What is the enduring business secret of Xiangmo house?
According to the survey and statistics of soybean products enterprises in Japan conducted by Tokyo business research in August 2020, the types of enterprises in this industry show two prominent characteristics: time-honored brands and small-scale enterprises. Among all enterprises, more than 60% of time-honored brands have been operating for more than 50 years, and the remaining 40% are mainly small enterprises or private workshops.
In recent years, the rising price of soybean raw materials has led to high operating costs for small and medium-sized enterprises, and many soybean products enterprises are on the verge of bankruptcy; The aging population is becoming increasingly serious, the demand for soy products is gradually decreasing, and some family enterprises are forced to suspend their careers due to the lack of successors.
Although the market continues to shrink, Xiangmo house can still grow against the trend, achieving 11 times the performance growth in 18 years. So, how did Sumiya change from a small street shop to Japan’s No. 1 soy product enterprise? What is the enduring business secret of Xiangmo house’s frequent explosion and growth against the trend?
Team: efficient execution requires “overwhelming speed”
While retaining the traditional flavor of tofu, keeping up with people’s preferences and dietary trends, and constantly pushing through the old to bring forth the new, Xiangmo house can’t unlock the infinite possibilities of tofu innovation without the leadership of the current president, niaoyuchunsi.
When niaoyuchun company first entered the company in 2002, it was told that nothing could be done now, and tofu, as a traditional food, was difficult to make any innovation. This is not only a harbinger of the beginning of the stagnation crisis, but also a huge opportunity for breakthrough and innovation.
Niaoyuchunshi decided to break the inherent cognition of traditional tofu and challenge what others have not done. While making tofu more interesting, we should constantly expand the market of tofu.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In the past, people thought that it was impossible to achieve three pieces of kapok tofu, but when Xiangmo house set it as the goal to achieve, a special team was set up to develop it on the second day, and it took only one and a half months to complete the production and sale of three pieces of kapok tofu, which led to the rapid growth of the company’s performance.
Decide immediately, act immediately, and firmly believe that it will be achieved. Once there is a set goal, all employees will immediately work in the same direction. Even today, Xiangmo house has become a leading enterprise in the industry, “overwhelming speed” is still considered to be the biggest advantage of Xiangmo house.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Product: “a little bit into the soul”, adhere to ingenuity polishing
Tofu is made from soybeans, water and brine. Although the raw materials are simple, the state of the products produced depends on the quality of the raw materials, temperature and humidity on that day. In order to produce soulful tofu instead of ordinary industrial products, Xiangmo house has always emphasized “one piece into the soul” (one piece means one piece).
As the first enterprise in Japan’s bean products industry to set up a quality management department, Sumiya devotes its ingenuity to every link from raw material selection to production and processing, and then to the final finished product inspection.
Non GMO soybeans with delicate flavor and rich in protein are carefully selected and directly sealed and sent to the factory to ensure that no sundries are mixed during the process and improve the traceability of raw materials.
Although the factory has introduced advanced production equipment and robots to replace traditional manual production, the status of each equipment on the mechanical production line is always confirmed by the staff in person, and more than 300 items are checked every day; Before the products leave the factory, the craftsman makes full use of the five senses to carefully check the flavor and quality of tofu, so as to ensure that the products are presented to consumers in the highest quality state.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
In addition, whether the competitive companies provoked the price war with ultra-low prices or during the period of rising soybean raw material prices, Xiangmo house has always maintained a stable product price and quality supply, winning the high trust of the market and consumers.
Technology: independent research and development of core technology to build a strong brand moat
Stable production of high-quality products is often inseparable from rapid product packaging. By examining the problems existing in the past production process, Xiangmo house independently developed the core technology “heat sealing method” for rapid packaging of tofu, creating technical barriers and building its own moat of the brand.
In the past production process, tofu was soaked in water and cooled, and then manually moved to the corresponding packaging. There was not only the risk of bacterial contamination, but also the impact of water resistance, and the packaging speed was very limited.
Xiangmo house adopts reverse thinking. After five years of independent research and development, it introduces a fully automatic mechanical production line and pioneers the “heat sealing method” of using machines to cover the packaging of hot tofu. Retain the original flavor of tofu to the greatest extent, extend the shelf life from 5 days to 15 days, and increase the packaging speed from 1500 pieces /h to 8000 pieces /h. Today, the six factories in xiangmoya can produce 1.5 million pieces of tofu a day, achieving the goal of covering the whole Japanese market.
Photo source: Xiangmo house
Mergers and Acquisitions: relief type mergers and acquisitions of bankrupt enterprises to expand the scale of brands
Facing the situation that the Japanese soybean products market is shrinking and some small and medium-sized enterprises have gone bankrupt one after another, as the leading enterprise of Japanese soybean products, xiangmoya actively performs and undertakes the responsibility of revitalizing the soybean products market.
According to the enterprise type and operation status of the bankrupt enterprise, combined with the self-development plan of Xiangmo house, formulate the corresponding relief type M & a plan; Based on the accumulation of past experience, give guidance on the improvement direction of bankrupt enterprises.
Since 2014, Xiangmo house has successively acquired Xiushui, daily top, Jiangwu, jingchan nunnery and other enterprises. Among them, Xiushui, Jiangwu and jingchan Temple expanded the product matrix of Xiangmo house in the sub categories of silk tofu and kapok tofu, and daily top improved the logistics and distribution efficiency of Xiangmo house in the southeast of tiben.
While helping bankrupt enterprises recover and rebuild, we should fully tap their bright spots, realize the transformation of advantageous resources, and gradually establish the scale barrier of Xiangmo house brand.
Image source: maff go. jp
Marketing: for specific consumer groups, tofu x animation, tofu x fashion show
In order to attract male consumers aged 30-40 to enter the tofu commodity area, in 2012, Sumiya cooperated with Gundam, one of the three milestones of Japanese science fiction animation, to launch “the shock captain of expanding the tofu world” – zagu tofu.
The beancurd outer package is designed as the helmet shape of zagu soldiers, and the taste is soya bean flavor that can be associated with green zagu soldiers. Once the product was launched, it attracted many fans of the original work to buy and taste, and became a hot topic of discussion on social networks.
Image source: tokyo zombieee
Subsequently, Xiangmo house successively launched tofu products based on other characters in “Gundam”, as well as anniversary tofu products to increase visual impact and luxury, which improved the popularity of Xiangmo house in the eyes of male consumers aged 30-40. With a high degree of animation modeling reduction and rich product taste, the cumulative sales of “zagu tofu” series products exceeded 5million after 3 years of sale.
In addition, in order to expand the consumption group of young women aged 20-34, Xiangmo house has opened booths in fashion exhibitions such as the Tokyo Girls Collection and the Kobe collection for many years. Through a series of activities such as on-site tasting experience, free distribution of products, photo and punch in interaction, young women are promoted to promote new products related to Xiangmo house and feel the real charm of tofu products.
Image source: tgc girlswalker. com
Through reviewing the business history of Sumiya, we found that the successful business practice of Sumiya in the Japanese bean products market could not be separated from the overwhelming team execution speed, the product polishing of excellence, the highly competitive core technology, the marketing promotion of specific target groups, and the brand merger and acquisition of relief and expansion.
On the surface, an evergreen brand is characterized by frequent explosive products and continuous iterative evolution. The deep-seated driving force behind it is that the brand goes deep into the society and people in each era, accurately insight into user needs and even lead popular culture.
As the origin of soybean food, China’s soybean products industry is still in the primary processing stage, and the technical barriers are relatively low. The enterprise is not sensitive to the market trend and wind direction, does not understand the real needs of consumers clearly, and is not clear about the future operation and development plan of the enterprise.
The times are advancing, and the needs of consumers are constantly changing and updating. Only when enterprises sincerely face consumers, listen carefully and meet their needs, and consumers also repay enterprises with loyalty and repurchase rate, such a “two-way rush” is a real perfect encounter. With the prevalence of plant-based trends in the world, the domestic bean products industry may usher in new opportunities for innovation and development. What is the development prospect of domestic bean products industry in the future? Let’s look forward to it together!
reference material:
[1] Category insight | as the protagonist of Oriental diet and dinner table, where is the Japanese better at making tofu than us? Foodaily daily food, January 14, 2021
[2] After watching the three upsurges of the Japanese soybean milk industry, I found that the growth space of the Chinese market is beyond your imagination! Foodaily daily food, 2021-07-02
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