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CHIBA CITY, Japan — Bob’s Red Mill, a niche natural foods company in Milwaukie, Ore., started exporting to Japanese customers about six months ago.
The employee-owned company’s certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free milled grain products can now be found in several prominent retail chains in this country including Costco Japan, National Azabu and Jimmy’s in Okinawa.
Bob’s Red Mill’s products are also sold at bakeries, and can be ordered on Amazon Japan, company export regional sales manager Sandi Funk said.
The company showcased its oats, baking flours, specialty flours, muesli and granola at the Foodex international food trade show, held this year March 6-9.
Foodex Japan is among the largest food expos in the world, attracting more than 3,000 exhibitors. Since 1976 it has brought together food exporters from around the world, and buyers from within and outside Japan.
Most exhibitors group themselves under their country’s pavilion, although some prefer to exhibit alongside companies producing similar products, with a small number exhibiting independently.
Bob’s Red Mill was in the USA pavilion.
“We’re here to meet some additional retailers,” Funk said.
“(Bluff Bakery in Yokohama) used our flour to make bread that we’re sampling,” she said.
Ryuhei Suzuki, representative director for Upperleft, a Tokyo company that imports Bob’s Red Mill products, said not many stores in Japan yet carry organic products — “but there are many (consumers) who are looking for better-quality products,” Suzuki said.