President's column Vol.4

President's column

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食品だから出来ること Part.2 食品だから出来ること Part.2

We deliver products through dedication.

When I became the president of the company after my father passed away, the employees consisted of my mother and five part-time workers.
That was about 20 years ago, when I was 28 years old.

My father, who was very innovative, introduced a variety of products after the launch of the liquid food Aior.

Red Viper Drinks and Golden Fighters were energy drinks distributed through drugstores.
Olive oil imported in a metal barrel from Italy packaged in small plastic bottles and sold as sun tan lotion named "Sunny."
(On a hot day, my mother would load up the car with these bottles and drive to beaches up and down the coasts of Japan. She would walk around selling them to sunbathers while pushing me in the stroller.)

My father invented ready-made instant meals containing a few side dishes packaged in trays that could be stored as emergency food.
(I can't remember the name of the product, but I do remember that many customers returned them after they were shipped out the first time.)
When my father heard this, he had a brain wave.

Liquid cold medicines packaged in ampules.
(I think this idea was genius. If had been better made, it would have been a big hit.)

How about Calpico with eggs?
It was completely undrinkable, and the product did not make it onto the market.
(I was one of the taste-testers, and I remember it was sheer torture.)

This is just to name a few; there were many more inventions.

Most of the products sold well initially, probably because the newness appealed to many.
However, the company ended up with piles of returns due to not-so-great product development.
I witnessed my mother going through happy and sad periods that alternated.
I feel like I saw the "principles of failure" in my parents' example.

My father used to tell me that the best part of life is the pursuit of possibilities.
However, each success is based on the help of many people.
Therefore, in order to succeed, you need a lot of helpers.
This requires funds as well.
As long as you are responsible for your own failure, you can afford to continuously pursue the possibilities until you are truly satisfied.
But if are not in it by yourself, repeated failure can not only waste the goodwill of others but burden them with substantial loss.
People just do that to satisfy their ego. That's what I learned.
What was left in the end was Aior and a few other liquid food products.

I only worked with my father for three years, but we were always in conflict.
It was almost every day that he threw an ashtray or a small sake cup at me.
He spent the last six months of his life in hospital.
I could tell that he felt much affection for his only son.
I remember he looked at me as if he was thanking me for being the odd son that had decided to pick up his mission where he left off.

It was 20 years ago that I became the president after my father passed away.
I was 28 years old.

The powdered form of Aior used to be packaged by hand by the part-time workers.
The product that was revolutionary at the time of introduction had lost its appeal after 20 years.
Other companies have made much progress in terms of technological innovations and had already marketed liquid food.
Powdered versions were rarely seen on the market.

Even though I was mourning the loss of my father and facing a desperate situation, I still had high hopes.
My motivation was fired up to develop new products in my own way.
I felt liberated like a dove that had been released from a cage, driven with the impulse to express myself freely.

Products always contain the thoughts and feelings of the developer.
What kind of thoughts do I want to deliver to people?
I believe that there is something food can provide that drugs cannot.
Food enters the body through the mouth, goes through the digestive tract and affects the body either in a negative or positive way.
Let us reflect our hopes, wishes and resentment in the products.
Remember not to ever hurt others.
Always keep in mind the principles of failure.

To be continued…

January 2012

Author : Susumu Kawaguchi

Chairman & CEO

Nutri Co., Ltd

Illustrator : Nakajo Junichi