In conversation with Puja Yash Thakur: Foodex Japan 2014

In conversation with Puja Yash Thakur: Foodex Japan 2014

Today, we are in conversation with Director of Shimla Hills, Ms Puja Yash Thakur ruminating on different aspects of her recent visit to Foodex Japan 2014.

Hope we leave you some food for thought…

1. Why did you decide to participate in Foodex this year?

Our business has been growing; there is no doubt about it. But for 2014 we wanted to pursue new territories like USA, Japan and Africa. We already have our base in Madagascar, the doorway to African Agro Commodities. We have also been aggressively monitoring our business deals in USA. Japan, however, was something we had to start from scratch. Foodex Japan 2014 was perfectly timed for us and we wanted to make the most of it.

Secondly, Japan is a benchmark with respect to food safety. Thirdly, and most importantly, Japan is a perfect gateway to enter into the neighbouring Asian Pacific countries of Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia.

2. Currently, are there any products exported to Japan from your company?

No, not yet.

3. Generally, what is your understanding about the Japanese market?

Foremost, I would put food safety. Not for once will the Japanese market compromise on the quality and value of food they import. They like their food absolutely faultless and fresh. Other aspect that I gathered about Japanese market was their inclination for IQF / Frozen foods, especially mango. Organic food products are also in high demand. Buyers were specifically interested in organic mango puree.

4. Why IQF, specifically?

Well, Japanese people are acutely health conscious. IQF is considered to be a ground-breaking innovation in the food industry. Japanese market has been very welcoming to IQF for three reasons –

One, this technology retains the natural flavour and freshness of food. This means there is no loss of nutrition, as there is no thawing involved. Hygiene is invariably maintained during the production of IQF product range.
Two, irrespective of the season, the supply of food remains uninterrupted.
Three, the convenience and ease of cooking involved with IQF is another factor that has made it such a success in Japan.

5. The product line you displayed at Foodex Japan.

A wide spectrum of our product range was exhibited at the event that included:

Fruit pulp, puree & concentrate
Flavours and Colours
Oilseeds, Grains and Pulses
Nuts and Spices

6. Japan’s market response to Shimla Hills’ product offerings?

Very good! In fact the Japanese buyers took keen interest in our products. Each buyer went in for a detailed meeting. This shows their penchant for product selection and quality. It will take some time for us to build our market presence here. But we have already started working on it and are completely committed to it.

7. Products that you are deeply committed to?

Frozen fruits and vegetables to be very Japan specific. I would also like to add sesame and millets, seeing the market scope via the Korean market.

8. What kind of competition is faced by Shimla Hills at domestic and international levels?

You see, businesses prosper when fierce competition exists. There is no doubt that Shimla Hills faces cut-throat competition, at the domestic as well as international levels for mango, which is our major product. But we have been able to draw our strengths, more clearly, from this competition.

Price, quality & deliverance gives us an edge over others. One can argue these points to be too generic, but what I see is the level at which a company commits itself to them. You can never lower down quality in bid to offer competitive price.

So what worked for us was capitalizing on the economies of scale by enhancing our plant capacity, sourcing from right place, minimizing waste management and bringing efficiency in our overall processing methodologies. The biggest and foremost aspect, we believe makes the difference is after sales support which we ensure is meticulously extended to all our clients.

9. What are the difficulties that you feel Indian companies face while entering into the Japanese food market?

Meeting the strict quality and health norms of the Japanese market.

10. Did you visit other pavilions?

Yes, I did. I really liked the South Korean, Taiwan and Jetro pavilions. Their pavilion layout and style were commendable, so were the product lines displayed by them.

11. What kind of food trends/innovation you observed at the event?

Japanese are wine connoisseurs. This is what I perceived from exuberant booths displaying wine as the most sought after product.  Next, was the innovation exhibited in the food packaging sector and the organic health oriented food products.

12. The most interesting and striking part of your travel to Japan.

It’s got to be the hospitality experience here. It was indeed one of the best I have experienced so far. There is a very systematic approach to everything in Japan, be it inside or outside exhibition area. Bus transits were impeccably smooth. The preparations of the booth went without any hassle. TCS Co. Ltd. the company responsible for booth furnishing and preparation did an exceptionally great job. Everyone was very punctual and gave a prompt response.

The most prominent part of this exhibition was colour coded entry passes. They helped in distinguishing the kind of visitors coming to your booth. Like red was coded for trader, green was coded for visitor and then there were different colours for VIP, e-shoppers etc. A lot of these tiny bits made this show and my travel in Japan an unforgettable experience.

13. Was language barrier a hindrance?

No, not really. Most Japanese visitors I engaged in conversation with were quite fluent in English.

14. How do you evaluate Foodex 2014? Any plans for 2015 edition?

It was altogether a learning experience. We were really able to identify the likes and dislikes of the Japanese market. What we aim for 2015 is targeting the sweet tooth of Japanese consumers. They relish taste, flavour and sweetness – we intend to target these for next year. We would also like to reorient our approach for Japanese market and make it more customer centric, now that we understand the nuances of market here.

15. JIIPA (Japan India Industry Promotion Association) – please share your experiences.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience!  But the marketing and promotional strategies of JIIPA need to be more strong. This will bring the Indian trade presence on a more prominent platform in Japan, which were kind of missing this time. Government assistance and efforts also need to be beefed up, if a lasting impression needs to be made on the Japanese market.

16. Please share your future plans, as a company entering into Japan.

We’re positive on building a market for our products there; and also on establishing our footprints there. By Almighty’s grace, this will all happen soon!

Join Shimla Hills at Foodex Japan 2014

Foodex Japan 2014

Shimla Hills is glad to announce its participation at Foodex Japan 2014. The 39th international food and beverage exhibition is the largest trade show in the Asia pacific region.

The exhibition started in the year 1976. Since then, the trade show has contributed greatly by bringing latest in the food industry and facilitating exchange of ideas. On the other hand, the exhibition has been equally helpful in generating huge business opportunities for both exhibitors and visitors.

By participating at Foodex Japan, Shimla Hills enters the Japanese food market with the aim of understanding and exploring it. Going by the statistics, Japan imports about 60 percent of its food each year. Not only this, Japan’s processed food and beverage imports go over $7 billion. This makes Japan world’s third-largest importer, after the United States and the European Union (EU). The possibilities here are immense!

In addition, food safety and quality are two very important factors that Japanese food market demand. At Shimla Hills we look into these aspects extensively, and intend to appease the Japanese food market with diverse tastes that includes tropical fruits, nutritious vegetables, exuberant spices, oilseeds, grains and pulses.  

Here’s a complete list of products to be displayed at Foodex Japan 2014

•    Fruit Pulp, Puree & Concentrate
•    Flavours & Colours
•    IQF Fruits & Vegetables
•    Oilseeds, Grains & Pulses
•    Nuts & Spices

We cordially invite you to be part of the biggest annual food event in Asia pacific region.

Event – Foodex Japan 2014
When – From 4th to 7th, March 2014
Where – Join us at booth no. IN-1 and IN-2 India Pavilion, Hall No 1 at Makuhari Messe, Japan


Foodex Japan 2014

Foodex Japan 2014

Chasing 2014 with a rainbow of new hopes!

Chasing 2014 with a rainbow of new hopes!

Miracles are nothing but God’s way of manifesting His blessing. The first morning of 2014 gave me a positive inkling. It wasn’t a very bright morning though. Rain was lashing hard against the window panes and the silhouettes of distant mountains were turning darker even with the breaking dawn.

It was 1st January 2014, an off for all our offices. Rough weather outside and a cup of black coffee to sip was nothing less than a bliss. Like most entrepreneurs, I am habitual to check emails quite often. I answered few urgent emails, and spent next couple of minutes skimming through the emails till I reached one that brought a smile on my face. It was a reply from one of the equipment vendors. This reply was first ray of hope after holding several meetings and days of discussions with many vendors.

With sparkle in my eyes, I began reading through the details listed in the email. It affirmed that the vendor had technology that is required for manufacturing pulp with fruit dices in it. This is one of the key products that our R&D team is determined to develop this year. The food trends have been changing, and are now governed by a more health conscious consumer. It is therefore important to research and incorporate such innovations from time-to-time.

Brightened by this news, I looked outside and beheld year’s first miracle for me. It was a full arched rainbow, glistening with all its might, across the vast valley. Seeing a rainbow was a blessing, a sign that acknowledged my feeling and set a high note for the year ahead.

Rainbow is formed when sunlight passes through rain droplets that act as a prism, scattering light into seven distinct colours. More than science, I relate rainbow to my life…my work now.

This spectacle of sunlight, air, rain and nature is so deeply connected to my work at Shimla Hills. Rainbow hints that it has rained well. Rain in turn is a boon for farmers that nurture crops between sowing and harvesting time. Only when sun and rain combine, will you see a rainbow. A unity of opposite always stays.

No two people see the same rainbow, that’s a fact. Nor are two days, two years the same. Everything changes, and we all perceive change individually. With experience, I have learnt that we should accept change with courage, and stay optimistic and confident about it.

Likewise, rainbow cannot be formed unless sun peers out and creates magic at the air-water interface. Sun is the driving energy that stimulates life on earth and similarly helps the rainbow to manifest. If farms are crop yielding factory, then sunlight is the fuel that stimulates crop growth.

I take rainbow as a sign of Almighty’s goodwill and blessings. I am optimistic that the year 2014 will revolutionize food industry, yet again, and Shimla Hills will surely be a big part of this movement.

We begin this movement by first strengthening our strategies to venture into new territories viz. USA, Japan and Africa. Let’s meet up at Foodex, Tokyo from 4th to 7th, March 2014 and hopefully at AFFI-CON 2014 at USA.

I must also congratulate Sun Impex, our sister concern for opening a new office in Russia and having the opening of Madagascar office in the offing. I extend my wishes to our staff there as Russia overcomes the recent skirmish.

Wishing New Year to bring abundance, happiness and courage for all of us!

Shimla Hills: The year gone by…2013!

Shimla Hills: The year gone by…2013!

Today, as we eagerly wait for the moment when we step into the year 2014 we reflect on the year gone by. As growing part of food industry, Shimla Hills has achieved a lot in year 2013. So here we have a snapshot of our achievements for you all to enjoy!


Shimla Hills : ‘A Government Certified Export House’.
Shimla Hills – ‘A Government Certified Export House’.






Shimla Hills shines through World Food Ukraine 2013

Shimla Hills shines through World Food Ukraine 2013

At a subtler level, any event is a collaborative effort of your team and months of hard work put together. That’s exactly what helped us succeed at WorldFood Ukraine 2013. It started on 30th October, 2013 and concluded on 1st November, 2013 at Brovarsky Prospect, Kyiv, Ukraine. With our usual gusto and commitment towards quality we participated at the event and received an outstanding response.


For this year’s edition we exhibited fresh and processed fruit products, IQF and commodities like pulses, spices, nuts, oil-seeds and grains. The commodities section was our major focus at WorldFood Ukraine this year because it had been recently launched in the Ukrainian food market and was being pursued aggressively by our sales team.


Given to the fact that this international Ukrainian food show is the biggest professional exhibition of food products in Ukraine, it was a perfect opportunity and platform to make our presence felt more strongly in this part. We received remarkable business follow-up from this event, which will hopefully get translated in the coming months.


Food trade shows like WorldFood Ukraine render a dynamic perspective to Shimla Hills‘ business as they foster direct communication with customers, exhibitors, industry peers and trade visitors. They are also instrumental in helping the business leap to the next level of success, growth, generate new ideas and decide future ventures.


Have a quick look at the 3 day event in Ukraine!


Food trade shows


international Ukrainian food show