Mitsubishi Corporation to acquire 80% stake in food manufacturer Gourmet Delica

JAPAN – Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s largest trading company, has announced plans to purchase an 80% stake of Gourmet Delica Co., Ltd. from its current owner Kewpie Corporation.

Gourmet Delica manufactures pre-cooked rice and other delicatessen for use in lunch boxes, most of which is sold to Lawson Inc., the operator of Japan’s third largest chain of convenience stores and an MC Group company.

The proportion of Gourmet Delica’s operations being acquired by MC essentially comprises the segments of the business that cover its transactions with Lawson, and will be spun off to form a new entity, albeit carrying the same name, by way of a company split.

That new Gourmet Delica will be incorporated on October 1, thereby becoming an MC Group company.

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From October 1, the remaining segments of the old Gourmet Delica’s business, including non-Lawson related frozen confectionery, will continue operating with the name changed to Soka Delica Co., Ltd.

According to the company, the current Gourmet Delica was established by Kewpie in 1990 and has excellent production technology and R&D capacity, especially as it relates to steamed rice products used in lunch boxes.

One of the country’s premier manufacturers of pre-cooked foods, Gourmet Delica has been a top Lawson supplier for nearly 30 years.

Although this transaction brings the new company under the umbrella of the MC Group, Kewpie will retain a 20% share of the new Gourmet Delica and will continue working closely with MC to further develop the company.

The arrangement, overall, is expected to contribute to helping Lawson reach its target of 600,000 yen in average daily sales per store (in Japan) by 2021.

The acquisition will also allow MC to become more directly involved in different sections of its food businesses supply chain, and further strengthen the MC Group’s integrated supply chain.

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This ranges, for instance, from the procurement of raw materials to the manufacture of lunch boxes through operations at Gourmet Delica and aspects executed by other Group companies such as logistics handled by Mitsubishi Shokuhin and retail through Lawson.

The move will ultimately enable the delivery of further value-added products and help raise customer satisfaction at Lawson.

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