The National Federation of Agriculture Cooperative Associations (Zen-Non), a major wholesaler of Japanese agricultural products, exported 300 KEG of rice to Singapore. Up-scale Japanese supermarket Midi-Hay at Liana court is the only retail channel selling all 300 KEG of Fuchsia rice, priced at S$38. 0 per 5 KEG. Despite being the sole retailer for Fuchsia rice, Midi-Hay also carries rice from other prefectures of Japan, thus likely to be between a Selective and Exclusive Distributor. While there is no indication of mainstream supermarkets such as .NET retailing Fuchsia rice in he future, the possibility of intensive distribution should not be ruled out. I have also observed that the information of Midi-Hay being the sole distributor is left out in most of the news coverage.
The rice bags were clearly demarcated to be from Fuchsia, a booth was set up with banners and employees promoting the safety standards to reassure the consumers. Neither Zen-Non nor Midi-Hay carried out media promotion, however the wide news coverage have generated buzz around Singapore. There are plenty other Japanese grocers in Singapore, and the possible access to the wide network of mainstream groceries due to governmental support resent opportunities for Zen-Non to distribute Fuchsia rice intensively in Singapore.There wasn’t any Fuchsia rice during my trip down to Midi-Hay, a quick check with the supermarket staff revealed that the rice sold out within 2 days and that majority of the buyers were Japanese, however more information regarding future shipments and business purchases could not be provided. I also noticed that majority of rice sold were labeled in Japanese, with minimal product information in English. This indicates that the target consumers are Japanese, and they are likely to be expatriates with higher purchasing power as the prices can go up to $50 per 5 KEG.The sold out might be a positive indication of consumers’ receptivity towards rice from Fuchsia, however this might Just be a show of support and do not accurately represent consumer’s confidence. Furthermore, online sentiments are generally negative, with many entities raising concerns about the safety of consuming rice from Fuchsia.
Despite passing the Agar-Food & Veterinary Authority standards, the skepticism remains high, especially when the producers themselves refuse to consume the rice and voice guilt of selling them.In addition, consumers have raised the concern of business establishments in the Food & Beverage industry purchasing the rice. Low pricing and potential long term contractual tie ups present incentives for businesses seeking to increase their margins. ENVIRONMENT The meeting between Singapore PM and Japan’s Premier also entailed economic discussions, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which began in 2013 and is expected to conclude by 2015.Furthermore, the lack of natural resources in Singapore indicates the possibility of exploring nuclear energy, which Japan holds great expertise and experience. The choice of Singapore as the first country to accept Japan food imports will open more doors in the global trade industry for Japan. Known for strict regulations and standards, Singapore would be touted by Japan to market the safety of Fuchsia rice.
Singapore would be a springboard for Japan food trade industry to regain its formal trade volume.When farmers voice out their refusal to consume their own produce and the guilt of selling them, it contradicts the message by Zen-Non that the produce are safe for institution. This inconsistency represents a vertical channel conflict between the producers and distributors, in turn damaging the trust and confidence that consumers place on Fuchsia rice.
Thus the importance in addressing the concerns of producers, and to send out a coherent message to gain customers’ trust.In order to do so, Zen-Non must first look at building up farmers’ confidence and trust in their own produce before looking at capturing sales The choice of selling Fuchsia rice in Singapore and Midi-Hay proved to be a successful choice for Zen-Non so far. With the aid of Singapore reputation and loyal Japanese consumers of Midi-Hay, Fuchsia rice is finally being purchased overseas. I will expect Zen-Non to seize this opportunity to increase Japan food exports, but it remains a challenge for Fuchsia rice to both hit the shelves of mainstream supermarket and gain consumers’ trust and confidence.This case also demonstrated the importance of channel transparency, and consumers’ sensitivity towards the source and quality of produce. Promotional efforts by all channel members must portray a clear and consistent message. Clear labeling of produce from Fuchsia just be displayed, and to be made available for public and open retail purchase only.
Should it be not feasible to enact a complete ban on F&B establishments using these produce, clear signage must be displayed for consumers to exercise personal judgment, and that strict regulation be exercised in this matter.