Eknes Co., Ltd.
5,000 kilograms of “Kawachi bankan” are discarded every year just by falling from the tree
Regular delivery service “Rosher” of non-standard vegetables that reduces food loss saves
Eknes Co., Ltd. (President: Yasuyuki Hirai, Headquarters: Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture) is a service that regularly delivers non-standard vegetables to reduce food loss.
For a limited time, we will be handling non-standard Kawachi Bankan. What is Rothhel, a regular delivery service for non-standard vegetables? Do you know non-standard vegetables? It is a vegetable that is discarded because it is too big, too small, or irregular in shape, even though it does not have a problem with the taste. However, the essential taste is comparable to the standard product.
“Roshel” procures such non-standard vegetables from all over the country. It is offered once a month by regular service (1,836 yen to 4,860 yen (tax included) per month) at a price that is up to 35% cheaper than the general price. This is an attempt to effectively utilize non-standard vegetables that are discarded without being distributed to stores, aiming to reduce food loss.
What is “Kawachi Bankan”?
Kawachi bankan is a domestic citrus fruit found by chance in Kawachi-cho, Kumamoto prefecture. The cultivar name “Kawachi bankan” is given from the name of the place where it was discovered, Kawachi, and the fact that it is harvested after early spring (a late ripening citrus). There are only a few production areas such as Ainan Town in Ehime Prefecture and Amakusa City in Kumamoto Prefecture. It is characterized by a refreshing sweetness with little bitterness, and is also called “Japanese grapefruit”.
Kawachi bankan is in season from spring to summer. However, Kawachi bankan in winter also has a different taste from seasonal taste. [Image 2
Background of purchasing fallen Kawachi bankan
Kawachibankan overwinters on the tree while bearing fruit until harvest time. However, since it is vulnerable to cold, the fruit will fall from the stem in winter. This is to reduce the burden on the tree by leaving only the amount of fruit that matches its physical strength and dropping the rest.
The fallen Kawachi bankan just fell naturally. So it doesn’t spoil the taste. However, Kawachi bankan that has fallen even once is no longer a product.
Today’s farmers do not have the energy to pick up Kawachi bankan, which is not commercially available due to aging and labor shortages. As a result, they are left without being picked up. The amount is said to be 5000 kilos.
We were surprised when we heard about such a situation. Is it possible to somehow save Kawachi bankan, a rare fruit? With that in mind, I decided to purchase Kawachi bankan at “Roshel” this time. Despite being delicious, we will deliver the deliciousness of winter Kawachi Bankan, which has been discarded in large quantities until now. Background of how our CEO Hirai started “Loshel”
Our CEO Hirai’s grandfather was a farmer. At that time, we mainly grew vegetables for our own consumption. Many of the vegetables were ill-shaped, but I remember eating them and finding them delicious. On the other hand, when I looked at the fields around my house, I found that vegetables that seemed perfectly fine to eat were discarded simply because they were “irregular in shape” or “a little small”. “can’t believe it”
I was looking at the field with such a sense of incongruity in my childish heart.
My grandfather gave up farming when I was a child. Besides being old, it was no longer profitable. Even as a child, Hirai witnessed the reality of agriculture that it would be impossible to continue farming by earnestly growing crops.
After that, Hirai entered Kanazawa University. Started business after working at a local financial institution. In the first year, we worked on a service called “a machine writes direct mail and letters with handwritten characters.”
Our high quality and low prices have earned us a reputation, and we have received orders from more than 100 listed companies, as well as prestigious companies that represent Japan. The business is still growing steadily.
As an entrepreneur, what should you do next? After all, I thought it was the mission of an entrepreneur to contribute to the local community and society. At that time, I remembered “that scenery” that I saw when I was a child.
I have to do something about that “mottainai vegetable”. If we can sell vegetables that would have been discarded in the conventional distribution network at a low price, the profitability of farmers will increase, and we will not have to give up farming like my grandfather did.
Consumers are also happy because they can get delicious vegetables at a low price just by saying “the shape is bad”. Moreover, discarded vegetables are destined to be burned. If it is not thrown away, carbon dioxide emissions will be suppressed and it will contribute to environmental problems. There are only good things.
Hirai decided to do so and made a declaration within the company. “I will start a business that will contribute to the world by selling vegetables that will be discarded from now on.”
The company was taken aback. Some executives were worried about the company and opposed it. But I decided to move forward.
At first, Hirai himself visited local farmers and asked for their cooperation. However, all farmers are skeptical. I can’t move forward. This business seems impossible. When I was about to give up, I visited JA without expecting much.
When we confided in our business concept, young employees who agreed with us appeared one after another. The younger staff members were more aware of the problems facing agriculture today. After that, the news spread to JAs all over the country, and we were able to get their cooperation.
This business has just started. There is still a large amount of food loss left. I want to reduce food loss by 100,000 tons by 2030 through this business. Towards that goal, we are pushing forward together with our colleagues every day.
Eknes Co., Ltd.
Location: 2nd floor, 36-4-3 Kamikawabatacho, Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture 916-0037
Representative Director and CEO: Yasuyuki Hirai
Loshel HP: https://losshelp.jp/
Inquiries about articles
Phone number: 080-7085-6735 (Public Relations Momoko Kitagawa) We can also introduce producers in Ainan Town, Ehime Prefecture. Please feel free to request.
Details about this release: