How do you go from niche to mainstream in the minds of your customer?

The Challenge

As one of Japan’s leading food manufacturers, Ajinomoto has an authentically Japanese portfolio of best-in-class products, revered in the specialist ethnic marketplace.

Ajinomoto challenged The Hub to take them into the mainstream UK foodservice market – a task we have successfully achieved for many suppliers. Our priority was to make their name synonymous with authenticity amongst potential high usage operators, create demand, drive sales and achieve incremental profit.

The Strategy

Initially highlighting the most relevant quick win channels with the best fit for authentic Japanese products, The Hub created a strategic plan to focus on the casual dining sector – pubs, restaurants and high street casual - with a tactical goal of approaching the university channel where the consumption trend is also sufficient.

With a single-minded vision to make Ajinomoto the Japanese supplier of choice to enhance and maximise the menu opportunity across these targets, it was imperative that chefs, menu developers, operators and route-to-market buyers experience the quality, taste and authenticity of the product range first hand – and that we educated them on how easy it was to raise their customers experience with the range’s features and benefits.

The Campaign

Our creative solution was a beautiful on-brand Bento box.

Supported by an impactful PR, advertising and sponsorship campaign we supported the Ajinomoto commercial team at face-to-face customer events.

Our engaging and novel direct sampling campaign reached 25 of the sector’s most influential and difficult-to-reach decision makers across the leading high street operators and resulted in direct face-to-face prospect meetings, opening dialogue with head office decision makers and engagement with wholesaler category buyers.

We reached the wider target base and independent sector with impactful PR, advertising and sponsorship campaign.

The Results

12% engagement leading to commercial discussions and product presentations

Targeted 10,000 trade show visitors across key channel events, delivering 15 successful prospect follow-up meetings

New listings achieved with key broadline distributors

“Where we had previously focused our efforts with a range of ethnic food wholesalers, The Hub helped us to wider our perspective and really bring our brand to a wider audience – which in turn helped us to drive listings, and ultimately, sales.”
Head of Brand and Trade Marketing, Ajinomoto

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