Tea-riffic fu­ture

Ja­panese Con­sul-Gen­eral vis­its our ITO EN fac­tory

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

A JA­PANESE tea com­pany’s re­la­tion­ship with Wan­garatta has been strength­ened fol­low­ing a visit from the Con­sul-Gen­eral of Ja­pan on Mon­day.

ITO EN green tea has been man­u­fac­tured in North Wan­garatta since 2004, sourc­ing tea leaves from nearby plan­ta­tions in the Kiewa Val­ley and Alexan­dra.

Ja­panese Con­sul-Gen­eral, Kazuyoshi Mat­sunaga, said he was pleased with the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment of ITO EN in Wan­garatta.

“ITO EN’s man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Wan­garatta has a good busi­ness cul­ture, a high qual­ity con­trol sys­tem and good man­age­ment,” Mr Mat­sunaga told the Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle.

“We em­ploy many lo­cals from the area - we train them and help them ac­quire busi­ness skills that can be used in other fields.”

De­spite the re­cent clo­sure of Toy­ota man­u­fac­tur­ing plants na­tion­wide, Mr Mat­sunaga said he re­mained pos­i­tive about the fu­ture of man­u­fac­tur­ing in Aus­tralia.

“Some peo­ple said ‘Oh this is the end of man­u­fac­tur­ing’ but I don’t think so,” he said.

“Aus­tralia is very rich in nat­u­ral re­sources and it’s good to have our sis­ter city re­la­tion­ship, which has been de­vel­op­ing for more than 40 years.

“Plus the soil, suit­able weather con­di­tions and sun­shine in Vic­to­ria pro­duce very high premium qual­ity tea leaves.”

ITO EN man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Masashi Sato said a key rea­son be­hind the com­pany’s de­ci­sion to man­u­fac­ture tea in Wan­garatta was the cli­mate.

“While the tea sea­son in Ja- pan runs from April to Oc­to­ber, here it runs from Oc­to­ber to March,” Mr Sato ex­plained.

“This en­sures a sus­tain­able sup­ply of tea through­out the whole year.”

Mr Sato said ITO EN sell in bulk to the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and whole­salers, such as Wool­worths.

“The in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of green tea is a good move­ment for us,” he said.

“Matcha, which is es­sen­tially firmly ground and re­fined green tea, has been called a ‘su­per food’ like chia seeds and quinoa...we’ve started to pro­duce Aus­tralian­grown matcha this year.”

sdick@ ne­me­dia.com.au

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