CASE STUDY

Introducing Spanish culinary finesse to Japanese consumers

Client Background

Sigma Alimentos

Sigma Alimentos is a global leader in refrigerated packaged foods, with a wide range of products, primarily lunch meats and dairy products. This CPG giant is based in Mexico with operations across 18 countries. 

The conglomerate was looking for new avenues for expansion, specifically setting its sights on the discerning Japanese market. With a focus on creating a premium brand centered around Spanish dry ham, or jamón, Sigma Alimentos’ goal for Japan was to become a luxury Spanish food and charcuterie retailer, specifically targeting Japanese consumers aged 30-45 years.

Challenge/Opportunity

Merging retail with food service for premium ham

The task at hand was monumental: merging food service with retail for premium ham products while seamlessly introducing Spanish culinary finesse to Japanese consumers. GourmetPro became the catalyst for Sigma Alimentos, providing an expert capable of orchestrating the end-to-end concept within an ambitious timeframe. The expert would need to have an in-depth understanding of the restaurant business as well as creating and localizing recipes.

Expert
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GourmetPro dipped into its collective and homed in on an expert with a strong culinary background with experience working at Michelin restaurants worldwide. In addition, the expert had a strong track record in launching creative café and restaurant concepts in Denmark, China, and Japan. 

The selected expert has led project teams through their proprietary innovation process and helped create over 500 innovative products across all major food and beverage categories. 

Solution

Crafting a new concept from scratch

In just a week, GourmetPro introduced the expert to Sigma Alimentos. 

Collaborating closely with the client, the expert crafted the concept, defined the brand, created recipes, and selected the optimal location during the initial stages of the project. The fusion of Spanish and Japanese tapas became the cornerstone, with the expert personally training staff. 

What was of particular value to the client in this case was the expert’s wide local network of trusted Japanese partners and his strong relationship with them. This meant that the expert was able to convince the partners to start on the work even before the contracts were in place. The need to start the work immediately was crucial due to the ambitious timeline for the project. 

Our expert acted as a liaison between Sigma Alimentos and the various local operators and partners, ensuring that requirements were communicated clearly and implemented promptly. The local partners included operators who could make the actual recipe concepts as well as real estate agents to find the ideal locations for the restaurant.

Meeting tight timelines and budget constraints required not just efficiency but creative entrepreneurial agility. GourmetPro's expert successfully managed multiple work streams simultaneously, adapting approaches on the fly to ensure the project's seamless progression.

RESULT

A pop-up brings Spain to Japan

The culmination of this effort was Atrevío, a temporary pop-up restaurant offering a holistic Spanish experience. Launched in October 2023, the brand invited patrons to dine in, take out, and explore premium Spanish meats and complementary products. Positioned as a haven for embracing the unhurried Spanish lifestyle amid the hustle of Japanese work culture, Atrevío encouraged the concept of "Find Your Own Spain." From the introduction of the expert to the launch of Atrevío's pop-up, the entire process took just six months.

The initial response was overwhelmingly positive, particularly regarding the premium experience surrounding jamon. The price positioning, story, and education around the products and concept have also been well received. Continuous consumer data collection and remote monitoring via live video feeds demonstrate a commitment to real-time adjustments for optimal performance. As next steps, the client is planning to invest in marketing of the brand and concept to expand their presence in the Japanese market.

We recently collaborated with GourmetPro to launch our MVP concept in Japan, and the experience has been nothing short of outstanding. The expert we were matched with has invaluable expertise and his commitment to the project’s success is evident. Every detail was meticulously handled, and his professional approach ensured a smooth process from start to finish. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and highly recommend GourmetPro’s services to any organization looking to make a mark in the market.

Esther Muñiz Ferrer
Leader for Japan & Agile Coach, Sigma Alimentos

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