Tokyo, often celebrated for its culinary excellence, is about to host a new star in the world of high-end gastronomy. Jerome Chouchan, President and CEO of Godiva Japan and head of Orchid, the holding company behind the iconic chocolate brand, envisions Tokyo as the epicenter of a global “luxury” food group. In an exclusive interview with Nikkei Asia, Chouchan highlights the group’s ambitious plan to expand its portfolio by adding diverse high-quality food brands to its roster. Traditional Japanese sweets, known as “wagashi,” may even find their way into this tapestry of gourmet offerings.
Tokyo’s Culinary Pedigree
Jerome Chouchan underscores the significance of Tokyo as the ideal backdrop for cultivating a luxury food conglomerate. Japan’s rich culinary heritage, coupled with a fervent dedication to food culture, makes it the perfect launching pad for global gastronomic pursuits. The vision is clear – extend Tokyo’s culinary influence beyond borders, and traditional Japanese sweets might become an integral part of this delectable journey.
The Orchid Vision
Orchid, the parent company of Godiva Japan, is on a mission to nurture a luxury premium food brand. Chouchan, who leads both Godiva Japan and Orchid, is determined to broaden the group’s horizons through mergers and acquisitions. However, what sets Orchid apart is its unique approach. Unlike the high-end luxury groups that often focus on ultra-premium products with hefty price tags, Orchid aims to bring its know-how to more accessible price ranges. This inclusivity allows Orchid to delve into markets where a unit price of 2,000 or 1,000 yen is still viable.
A Marriage of Global and Local
Godiva Japan’s strength lies in its ability to collaborate with local brands, and the Japanese market reigns supreme within the group’s global footprint. Japan’s local food industry has found a powerful ally in Godiva, demonstrated by innovative collaborations with local chefs across the country. The Japanese arm of Godiva is indeed a global brand, but it thrives on nurturing partnerships with Japan’s local culinary delights.
Furthermore, Chouchan emphasizes the company’s relentless pursuit of innovation, venturing beyond the realm of chocolates into areas such as ice cream, beverages, and baked goods. A prime example is the introduction of soft-serve ice cream, an innovation originating in Japan that became a sensation in various countries. This progressive approach redefines the conventional model of global brands by blending global and local influences.
As Godiva Japan and Orchid redefine the luxury food landscape, it’s Tokyo’s unmistakable culinary aura that promises to take center stage in this epicurean journey. The world watches with anticipation as a new global luxury food group takes shape, bound by an appreciation for the finest tastes and a unique fusion of global and local influences.