Retailers such as Carrefour, Tesco, and Walmart have all had a difficult time in Japan. But Bio c’ Bon—a grocery store chain that specializes in organic foods with more than 170 stores in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland—was undeterred. Despite the challenge, the company founded a Japanese entity in April 2016 as a joint venture with Aeon Co., Ltd. and opened their first store eight months later in Azabu-juban.
As an organic grocery store importing from European suppliers, Bio c’ Bon had to prepare and localize thousands of products to comply with Japanese import regulations. And with a goal of opening 50 stores in the Kanto region by 2022, they have had to locate and negotiate suitable space, and adjust inventory to the smaller spaces.
Marketing is also a challenge. While consumer knowledge of the benefits of organic foods is increasing in Japan, it is still a relatively niche market and there are already several local competitors. Building on its experience in Europe, Bio c’ Bon is working to build consumer engagement in Japan using Instagram as their main platform along with in-store tastings and workshops.
Join us on October 1 to learn how Pascal Gerbert-Gaillard, Asia Director of Bio C’ Bon, has overcome some of these challenges and is on the way to achieving the company’s 2022 expansion goal.
ACCJ Marketing Programs Committee
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