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Japan-Update

Calbee readies brick-and-mortar granola sales in China

Japanese food maker hopes to overcome cereal's sugary reputation

TOKYO -- Japanese snack maker Calbee is set to expand sales of popular breakfast cereal Frugra in stores in China and other parts of Asia, marketing the product as a convenient and nutritious food.

Frugra -- a portmanteau of fruit and granola -- began selling in China over the summer, mainly on internet giant Alibaba Group Holding's e-commerce website. Sales in local supermarkets and convenience stores in addition to Japanese-operated retailers will start as early as January and expand to other Asian nations by March.

The food manufacturer is targeting overseas sales of 30 billion yen ($266 million) for Frugra in fiscal 2020.

China's cereal market totals around $880 million, but just 20% of purchases are made online. Calbee consequently sees plenty of room for sales growth in brick-and-mortar retail. A 500-gram box of Frugra will likely sell for 59 yuan ($9.09) in stores.

Calbee will export Frugra from its Hokkaido factory and also plans to ship the product from a new plant in Kyoto that it will bring online in the summer. Moreover, the company is trying to shake cereal's reputation as a snack food in China by launching information campaigns through social media.

(Nikkei)

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