KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Japanese companies are targeting to make further inroads in Malaysia’s halal market to expand the market for Japanese food products and explore opportunities in the production of Japanese food and ingredients.
Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) Kuala Lumpur project coordinator Lim Yen Yi said Japanese companies were looking at business opportunities to enter the Muslim market, including exporting from Japan, manufacturing or original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for the supply of halal-certified Japanese brand products in Malaysia.
“The 18th Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2022 (MIHAS) has generated a huge amount of interest for Japanese halal-certified food products with many buyers looking for Japanese food and ingredients,” she told Bernama in an interview.
She said there was even more interest shown this year compared with the previous MIHAS event in 2019 which Jetro had participated before the pandemic.
“Jetro did not participate at MIHAS 2021 as it was held in a hybrid virtual format and in 2020 as the trade show was cancelled,” she said.
Lim said according to some food importers and distributors in Malaysia, the market demand for Japanese food is increasing although the main target consumers of Japanese food products are wealthy Chinese Malaysians.
She said it is also essential to target the middle-class market, mainly made up of Malay consumers accounting for about 70 per cent of the population of Malaysia, to further expand the market for Japanese food products.
“Malaysian halal industry players were also those looking for investment from Japan for collaboration in research and development and production facilities.”
“We support the entry of Japanese halal food products into Malaysia and the global Muslim market, through introducing the products, offering food samples tasting and conducting online business matching,” she said.
Lim said Jetro observed the resurgent demand for raw material ingredients for Japanese fine dining as Malaysia entered the transitioned to endemic phase from April 1 with restaurants allowed to operate without restrictions on operating hours
“Existing and new potential buyers, mainly importers/distributors and manufacturers, are interested in the renowned Japanese brands such as the Imuraya Start-up Planning’s Halal Dashi seasoning sauce and Kyoeiseicha’s matcha powder for supplying to restaurants as well as for making products like noodles, biscuits, drinks, etc,” she said.
She said buyers are also showing their interest in the Japanese popular Ueman Ryoshoku Seifunsho’s WA-PANKO brand of gluten-free, additive-free rice flour with usage like normal bread crumb but with the benefit of the reduction in oil absorption and making fried food more crispy as well as the Yokoi Vinegar Brewing’s Nikiri, a sweet rice wine type of seasoning which is not made with Japanese sake but thick vinegar.
“All these products are halal-certified,” she said.
She added that buyers are also looking for Japanese halal snacks and confectionery for supplying to retail stores, convenience marts and e-commerce sellers, and halal seasoning for supplying to restaurants.
Jetro participated in the four-day exhibition in MIHAS, the world’s largest halal trade event, from Sept 7, 2022, showcasing 24 halal-certified food products from eight Japanese companies, including confectionery, healthy food, seasoning for professional use and so on which are sought-after in the Malaysia food market.