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Lithuanian seafood processor eyes Japanese market. Viciunai Group is exploring the possibility of further developing its sales into Japan.

Last week, Viciunai representative Paulius Petrauskas met with Shire Yamasaki, Japan’s Ambassador to Lithuania. At the meeting, the Japanese delegation was given a presentation of Vici fish and surimi products and the parties discussed the possibilities to tailor these products for the Japanese market and distribute them in the country.

Apart from the Ambassador, the meeting was also attended by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan Eisuke Katsuyama, Analyst Renatas Kirtiklis, Counsellor to the Ambassador Masaru Anyia, and Administrative Assistant Takumi Tanida.

During the business lunch at Manami, an Asian restaurant owned by Amber Food, the participants tried crab sticks, the hallmark of Viciunai, as well as surimi baby eels and noodles, smoked salmon and mackerel. The partners were asked to give their opinion on the taste of these products and to compare them with similar products that are popular in Japan.

“We are happy that the products were well received by the Japanese delegation; still, they advised us to make some improvements before we launch them on this Eastern Asian market. Apparently, contrary to the Europeans, the Japanese like their fish a little bit less salty and slightly smoked, and surimi has to be a tad on the sweet side.

“Truth be told, we do not see such observations as criticism – quite the opposite, they help us understand the demands of the consumers of this market, which is still pretty much uncharted for us, and their expectations for new products better,” said Paulius Petrauskas, export manager with VIK.

He added that the Japanese Ambassador Shiro Yamasaki and his team help Viciunai establish connections with Japan’s major distribution chains. Recently, the Embassy has been approached by Ishikawa Chuo Uoichi Corp, a major Japanese retailer, over Viciunai products. Said company specialises in distribution of fish and seafood and has expressed interest to add Wok surimi noodles that were recognised the world’s best retail product this year, to its assortment.

Should a cooperation be established, Ishikawa Chuo Uoichi Corp would become the second Japanese corporation to distribute Viciunai Group’s products. The first one to do so was the retail giant Marubeni, which Viciunai have been supplying with premium trout fillet since January 2018.