The convenience of lettuce and other salad ingredients ready to use right out of the package has come to Japan. The first seller of DOLE FOOD CO.'s product is INAGEYA CO., LTD., a supermarket chain that operates in Tokyo and in neighboring Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures. Priced from about $1.35 a bag, the salad makings now are available at 11 Inageya outlets but soon will be sold at more. Dole's subsidiary hopes to interest other grocery chains in the fresh-packaged lettuce mixes.
The seemingly strong demand in Japan for anything organic has persuaded the trading arm of KIRIN BREWERY CO., LTD. to launch imports of organically grown rice from the United States this fall for sale to restaurants and convenience stores. The 110 tons of American-produced rice that the company plans to bring in will be identical to popular Japanese short-grain varieties. The Kirin affiliate already imports organic vegetables and seasonings.
Undeterred by the turmoil in Japan's pet food market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 15), H.J. HEINZ CO.'s subsidiary has introduced CHAMP!, a canned, all-natural dog food developed by BIOGLAN ANIMAL PRODUCTS, INC. of Tampa, Florida. CHAMP!, which costs $1.30 for a 14-ounce can, contains more than 30 naturally occurring enzymes for improved digestion as well as live cultures, antioxidants, protein and fatty acids.
In a major change in their relationship dictated by freshness considerations and helped by the yen/dollar exchange rate, ANHEUSER- BUSCH COS., INC. has given KIRIN BREWERY CO., LTD. the right to make Budweiser beer in cans. Under their 1993 arrangement, Kirin made bottled Bud and imported the canned product from Anheuser-Busch's Los Angeles brewery. Last year, 9.3 million cases of Bud were sold in Japan. An estimated 85 percent to 90 percent consisted of Bud in cans.
An exchange rate of ¥145=$1.00 was used in this report.