Sector watch: Japanese Mitsui redirects curry to India as it increases its consumer portfolio
Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co is diversifying beyond its traditional investments in industrial sectors such as steel, electrical infrastructure, chemicals and logistics to retail and services in India, starting with an entry into the restaurant business. Mitsui, one of Japan’s largest sogo shosha companies – or general trading companies – which operates in 66 countries in fields ranging from oil and natural gas to healthcare, sees the consumer sector as the new area. growth in India and could also turn to fresh food. supplies to India’s upcoming entry to 7-Eleven – the Dallas-based Japanese-owned convenience store chain, which operates 69,000 outlets in 17 countries.
In its foray into restaurants, Mitsui is teaming up with Coco Ichibanya, the world’s largest chain of Japanese-style curry restaurants, to launch a series of outlets in India through a new joint venture 60:40 . The two partners plan to make a combined investment of around $ 3 million to directly own and operate outlets and then franchise the CoCoICHI brand across India, with the first store to open in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi. , early next year.
Mitsui is looking to expand its consumer business in India, according to Tamotsu Nomura, general manager of the retail division at the company’s head office in New Delhi. “The consumer sector is an area of interest,” Nomura said, adding that for the former president and current president of Ichibanya, Toshiya Hamajima, not having restaurants in the birthplace of curry was a disappointment. .
Curry traveled to Japan on a roundabout route, having been introduced by Britain at the end of the 19th century, which was later adapted and adapted to Japanese tastes. Japanese curry is basically a thick, brown curry sauce that includes meat and vegetables, which is liberally spread over a bed of sticky rice. Widely regarded as a comfort food in Japan, the Indian company is also reportedly sticking to the Japanese model, but the fact that it will use a vegetarian curry sauce that does not contain animal fat and beef will not be on the menu. The price is likely to be aggressive, with a chicken katsu curry costing less than 500 rupees.
Ichibanya has 1,264 outlets from its famous chain in Japan and 180 other restaurants in the UK, China and South East Asia. The Mitsui-Ichibanya partnership is only for the Indian market, where Mitsui will take care of everything from running the business to finding franchisees to develop, while Ichibanya will take care of store operations and product development. products.
In addition to the investment to bring the Japanese curry restaurant chain to India, Mitsui’s recent investments in India include a co-investment proposal with Mahindra Susten in distributed solar power projects, investments in GOQii, a platform -form of preventive health care in India and investments in teleshopping. Naaptol startup.
Prasenjit Adhikari, CEO of Ichibanya India, said: “We will leverage our experience and networks in India, as well as our strong logistics and marketing capabilities, to support the launch of the business in India. Nomura did not comment on the information regarding Mitsui’s plans for the 7-Eleven food supply business.