Mitsuko Takahashi on the global egg industry

Since August 2021, Ms Takahashi has been actively supporting and leading Ise Foods to enter the Indian market. She was appointed Chief Operation Officer of Ise-Suzuki Egg India in January 2022. She has abundant management and marketing experiences at global companies such as America’s Boeing, UPS and India’s Jet Airways. Prior, she was an Indian government scholar and studied in Gujarat and New Delhi for over 3 years. She has done her MBA from Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, and is currently pursuing PhD at Gujarat Technical University. 

What aspects of your journey led you to work in the eggs industry?

I was an Indian government scholar when I was young. And ever since India has been close to me and I have considered India as my second motherland. I was appointed to lead Indian market by Ise Foods Inc. because it is India, not the egg industry that took me to India.

Why did Ise Foods Inc. decide to launch in India?

Ise Foods Inc. has entered the United States since 1980s. It’s market share in the US west coast reached to more than 60%. Ever since Ise Foods Inc. has been active in China and ASEAN countries to expand its presence and produced quality eggs.

India has more than 1.3 billion population and its economy is growing rapidly. While a Japanese individual eats 330 eggs annually on average, the per capita consumption in India is around 60 eggs per year. But the Indian Council of Medical Research recommends at least 180 eggs per head per annum. It means India has a big growth potential in egg market. Furthermore, Indian middle class is growing, and the demand of quality foods is increasing in the post Covid. We understand India is a big market for Japanese standard quality eggs.

There has been a rise in veganism worldwide. How does marketing for the eggs sector shift with these shifting trends? 

Vegetarianism is usually a diet, while veganism is a lifestyle. Vegans may be motivated to eat vegan foods by health, environmental, or animal welfare perspective reasons. On the contrary, egg is a perfect food with a very versatile nutrition value. It has various health benefits: a lot of protein to build one’s body, Vitamin E, D and B that makes it better to take as egg than supplements. Eggs are stomach filling and good for weight loss. Eggs are also good for diabetic and high cholesterol patients. So, egg is effective and optimal food to keep us healthy. We market as “our hygienic, nutritious and safe eggs for your beloved ones.” Eggs are essential for healthy life of all ages.

What distribution channels is Ise Foods considering for the Indian market? 

Considering our target customers, we are aiming for modern trade, luxurious general trade, E-commerce, hotels, and restaurants, as our distribution channels.

As Ise Egg Premium are machine washed/ UV sanitized and transported in cold chain, we request those stores to sell the eggs in meat chillers. We recommend customers to keep our eggs in a refrigerator. This way, our hygienic and nutritious eggs are served fresh. Our eggs have also cleared a salmonella free lab test. For hotels and restaurants, our eggs can be a value added; for example, our egg yolk color is special and darker yellow, therefore the cooked food will be rich in taste.

What are the leading egg-consuming countries globally? How are consumption trends shifting? 

According to International Egg Commission, the consumption of eggs has been on the rise all over the world and even 2025~2030 forecasts look promising. The top consumers in the world rank are Mexico, Japan and the USA. Particularly, Japanese are fond of eggs and there have many recipes using eggs from the starters, main dishes to desserts.

The development in egg consumption in selected countries in the period 2015 – 2019 (Source: IEC)

Consumption trend post covid is food safety conscious, and more smart people start to choose high quality, chemical free, and more nutritious eggs.

Are you an avid consumer of eggs? How often do you include eggs in your diet? 

As an average Japanese, I eat egg quite regularly. I usually have breakfast with egg dish (such as sunny side up, omelet, soft boiled egg), salad, and café au lait. My favorite breakfast is French toast with honey and cinnamon. When we eat ramen noodle for lunch, there would always be a soft-boiled egg on top. As Japanese eggs are hygienic and safe, one of the Japanese feasts is raw egg over steaming rice. We consume a lot of fresh egg mayonnaise. Eggs are also used in cooking, too. So, eggs are a part of our daily diet. No wonder Japanese are 3rd largest egg consumers.

What are some other countries besides India Ise Foods wants to expand to? 

Probably, Middle east and east Africa would be interesting markets to expand next from India. But we are focusing on India market as a priority now.

Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who covers international relations, defence, diplomacy and social issues. Her current focus is on India-China relations.