Mitsubishi Corporation aims to further expand in the food sector through the purchase of an 80% stake in Japan’s Gourmet Delica from its current owner Kewpie Corporation.
Gourmet Delica manufactures pre-cooked rice for use in lunch boxes, most of which is sold to Lawson, an operator of Japan’s third largest chain of convenience stores and a Mitsubishi-owned company.
The proportion of Gourmet Delica’s operations being acquired comprises the segments of the business that cover its transactions with Lawson, and will be spun off to form a new entity, albeit carrying the same name, by way of a company split.
From 1 October, the remaining segments of the old Gourmet Delica’s business, including non-Lawson related frozen confectionery, will continue operating with the name changed to Soka Delica.
The current Gourmet Delica firm was established by Kewpie in 1990 and Mitsubishi Group said it has “excellent production technology and R&D capacity”. The company has been a Lawson supplier for nearly 30 years.
Kewpie will retain a 20% share of the new Gourmet Delica and will continue working closely with Mitsubishi to further develop the company. The arrangement, overall, is expected to contribute to helping Lawson reach its target of JPY 600,000 ($5,388) in average daily sales per store (in Japan) by 2021.
The acquisition will also allow Mitsubishi to become more directly involved in different sections of its food businesses supply chain. This ranges, for instance, from the procurement of raw materials to the manufacture of lunch boxes through operations at Gourmet Delica and aspects executed by other companies such as logistics handled by Mitsubishi Shokuhin and retail through Lawson.
Mitsubishi’s other food interests include salmon farming firm Cermaq Group and rice milling company Mitsuhashi.
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