1. Do you mind sharing with us about the background of ITO EN?
So ITO EN was established in 1966 by a former top Japanese automobile salesman who witnessed the opportunity to explore the unregulated green tea market, so he bought over a tea house and began his venture into green tea trading. Over time, the business began to flourish and the innovative method used in their business at that time such as the packaging, commodity like grading, and ranking provides top notch quality grade to a generic product. Over time ITO EN has become the largest green tea product supplier and the first to create a patent for green tea. With such accomplishments, we began laying the foundations to burst into international markets. Today it is still a family owned business, and its marketing fundamentals are based on creative innovation, the quality of the product, and plus we are developing ‘Matcha’, stone grind green tea leaves, to be rather effective and bring much higher grade than average green tea.
2. Is Singapore ITO EN managing the South East Asia Market?
Yes, Singapore is managing the South East Asian territory such as Malaysia and Vietnam. We found that Malaysia currently shows a promising territory as we are focusing on niche ‘Halal’ product. On top of that the color green is considered to be auspicious in the Islamic culture so that green tea could also reflect on that as well.
3. What are Mr. Kodama’s involvement and role in ITO EN Singapore?
My primary role is to explore and develop a more innovative approach towards the market by constantly engaging with our consumers as a main source of further improvement.
4. There are plenty of choices of Japanese green tea product in Malaysia, so what makes ITO EN stand out from every other product available in the market?
The secret lies in the quality of our green tea and close relationship with consumers that makes our product stand out and provide consumers with a more creative and innovative products.
5. What do you think about the trend of Japanese green tea in Malaysia?
I think it’s the overall acceptability of local tea products, and besides consumers generally are aware of its extreme health benefits of drinking tea.
6. So what can we expect from ITO EN for this year and how do you see the ITO EN products faring here in the next 5 years?
Right now we are focusing on ‘Halal Certified Matcha’ and still finding the niche to explore Malaysian ‘Halal’ food territory. Hence we are to make the most of this as a base to break into the ‘Halal’ market in the upcoming years.