February 07, 2017

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Japan’s ultra-high food standards are model for Royal Greenland quality

Royal Greenland’s headquarters in Nuuk, Greenland, with the modern prawn factory trawler “Akamalik” in the background

A brand that evokes prestige, tradition and quality, Royal Greenland is one of the largest players in the global seafood market. Official purveyor to the Royal Danish Court, the company’s role in the economy of Greenland itself dates back to 1774.

“We have 37 factories along the coastline of Greenland,” said Mikael Thinghuus, the company’s CEO. “We are also the largest employer in Greenland, with more than 1,200 employees.”

“As well as having our own fishing fleet with modern ocean-going trawlers, we purchase seafood from more than 2,000 independent local fishermen,” Thinghuus continued. “This is vital for sustaining local communities and stimulating the economy in Greenland’s small society of only 56,000 inhabitants.”

The company has 16 offices around the world, including one in Japan, where it has had a presence since 1988. “We operate a ¥10 billion (approx. $90 million) business in Japan today, driven by 27 employees in our subsidiary office in central Tokyo,” said Thinghuus. “Japan is one of our most successful subsidiaries.”

Takaaki Shimoda (left) poses with the President of the Greenlandic Parliament Lars Emil Johansen and his wife at the presentation ceremony of the “Nersonaat” Greenland Medal for meritorious service in Nuuk in February 2015.

In fact, its Japan sales director, Takaaki Shimoda, is a “Nersonaat” Greenland Medal awardee for meritorious service. This prestigious medal is very rarely awarded to non-Greenlandic residents, but in 2015 the committee decided to honor Shimoda for his impressive development of the Japanese market for his company.

Cold-water prawns, Greenland halibut and snow crab are some of the key species caught along the west coast of Greenland that are exported to Japan. “We catch fish in the very challenging conditions of the Arctic, and process it following the highest standards of the Kingdom of Denmark, to be consumed by the most highly conscious consumer s of seafood products in the world,” explained Thinghuus. “The standard of seafood we deliver to Japan has enabled us to improve the level of products and service we deliver worldwide.”

As the company approaches its 30th year in Japan in 2018, Thinghuus is looking forward to expanding the business. “We’ll continue our strong market push within the food service industry, while our Japanese colleagues are strengthening our retail offerings,” he said. “Danes respect the Japanese for their high respect for food, and the Japanese — in turn — respect us for the quality we deliver.”

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