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Release | Yuki Konishi

To develop long-seller Hokkaido souvenirs! The passion of Hokkaido Souvenir Lab


To develop long-seller Hokkaido souvenirs. 
And to help that activity.  
A project called Hokkaido Souvenir Lab was born from such passion.  
The long-established retailer who sells Hokkaido souvenirs and the marketing professional partnered to establish the lab in January 2018. 
I visited the president of “Yamato Ogasawara Shoten” and Hokkaido Souvenir Lab, Wataru Ogasawara to ask about the project. 


Picking a souvenir requires originality and a great sense: everyone is looking for something new

Ogasawara Shoten runs the souvenir shop in Shin-Chitose Airport called “Sky Shop Ogasawara” and an online shop “Hokkaido Omiyage Tankentai,” etc. 

新千歳空港のスカイショップ小笠原▲“Sky Shop Ogasawara” is located on the second floor of the domestic terminal. They sell Hokkaido Souvenir Lab products here. 

The number of passengers using Shin-Chitose Airport is 58,389 on average. (From the data in 2016)
The characteristic of the airport is that there are many repeat customers including business travelers. Therefore, people expect new products to be in the airport shops every time they come.  
“Sky Shop Ogasawara” is no exception, according to Mr. Ogasawara, they have a data that a repeat customer buys 70% famous standard gifts and the remaining 30 new ones. 
Picking a souvenir requires originality and a great sense, so many people are adventurous to try something new and exciting. Mr. Ogasawara told me like that.  


To answer those needs, many new products come out, but many products need improvement. Most of them are somewhat similar to something which exists already, or the size of the package or amount or design have something which can be improved. 
The manager of the online shop department and the staff of Hokkaido Souvenir Lab, Naohiro Kawahara, told me like that. 


It’s too late if the product is shipped.  
They came to an idea to create long-seller Hokkaido souvenirs from their point of view as a retailer who sees customers’ faces every day. 
It was the starting point of Hokkaido Souvenir Lab. 


To create a souvenir like this! They thought together, tackled with problems together, and developed products

In Hokkaido Souvenir Lab, they have two types of products: one is products which started with zero-based ideas, and the other one is improving existing prototypes or products to add new attractions. 
They have seven ongoing projects, and their clients vary such as farmers and enterprises. Some companies outside of Hokkaido come to consult with them, too. 


“There are many kinds of projects, but for all the projects, we value to use Hokkaido ingredients and to tell stories that are made in Hokkaido.” Mr. Ogasawara said. 

The first project was a snack which you would think there would be but haven’t

In the first project, which was a joint project with the confectionery “morimoto,” they developed a snack called “Jaga Morokoshi.” 
The snack was made from the idea of Hokkaido-like dishes such as corn&butter and potatoes&butter. 

北海道おみやげ研究所の第一弾、じゃがもろこし▲“Jaga Morokoshi” was the joint project between Hokkaido Souvenir Lab and morimoto. Ogasawara Shoten and morimoto both have the headquarters in Chitose-City. The box contains eight pieces, and it’s 777 yen. 

They used freeze-dried Hokkaido produced corn, and Chitose produced potatoes. It has a crunchy texture, and the salt butter flavor makes us want to drinks some beer.  
Souvenirs from Hokkaido are mostly sweet stuff, so this one must be popular form guys. Each piece is wrapped separately which is a strong plus to consider as a gift to workplaces. 

北海道おみやげ研究所▲Jaga Morokoshi is sold at Sky Shop Ogasawara. It sold 3,700 boxes in a month during the summer vacation season. 


The second project was a midnight snack born in Susukino!

Their second project is kind of interesting.
It’s called “The midnight snack - Susukino Nuts” - it’s a bottle of smoked maple nuts. 
“Why aren’t there souvenirs from Susukino. Isn’t it interesting if there was one?”
The idea of this souvenir was discussed when they were drinking in Susukino. 
The product is a collaboration with dry fruits and nuts specialized store “Ueno Ameyoko Kojimaya” and Susukino’s smoked food specialized shop “Ozu (Kita No Kunseiya)” who were drinking with the project member at that night. 

北海道おみやげ研究所の第二弾、すすきのナッツ▲The name is a joke but inside is real smoked maple nuts. It’s 1,200 yen for a bottle so not very cheap. However, you can feel very much work is put into these nuts.  

They use cashew nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachio, and walnuts which are often used at bars. They smoke nuts and maple syrup differently. 
For the nuts, they use originally blended seven kinds of smoke chips including sakura. 
For the maple syrup, they smoke for a night in low temperature to add deepness from the smoke.  
They mix the nuts and maple syrup which were smoked differently then roast together. That produces the smoky flavor and unique glossy texture. 
It was slightly sweet and smoky and could not resist having one more.  
With the pretty illustration, this product is perfect for a gift for your workplace. 


What are the plans in the future?

北海道おみやげ研究所の商品▲They just started selling their third project “Tsurukichi Flour’s Nama Ramen” using the first specialized flour for ramen in Hokkaido called “Tsurukichi.” The noodle has a smooth texture and great aroma. 

What kind of projects are they going to do?  
“I would like to mix ideas from different people and various technologies to develop products which make Hokkaido more interesting and more delicious. And cherish those to develop long-seller products.” (Mr. Ogasawara)  
Check out activities of Hokkaido Souvenir Lab and their new products keep coming out! 



Related Links

- Hokkaido Souvenir Lab
- Yamato Ogasawara Shouten
  • To develop long-seller Hokkaido souvenirs! The passion of Hokkaido Souvenir Lab

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Yuki Konishi