Release | Takako Chiba
“Hokkaido made baby potage” - additive-free baby food made with Hokkaido vegetables
“Hokkaido made baby potage” is baby food that is made only with fresh Hokkaido vegetables from contract farmers. It’s flake style baby food, and you can prepare instantly by adding either hot water or water. No artificial coloring, non-scented, additive-free, and no preservatives. Please call it “Babypota.”
Table of Contents- What is “Hokkaido made baby potage”?
- The babypota project begun
- Babypota's characteristics
- Voices from moms
- What happened to Babypota when 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake occurred?
- Where can we buy Babypota?
What is “Hokkaido made baby potage”?“Hokkaido made baby potage” (hereafter Babypota) is additive-free baby food consisted with vegetable flakes of 100% Hokkaido vegetables.
They use only fresh vegetables from contract farmers in Hokkaido for ingredients, and Takinoue Sangyo in Takinoue-Cho, who has over 30 years experience producing vegetable flakes, manufactures.
▲Additive-free baby food Hokkaido made baby potage 50g bottle (1,080 yen, including tax)
You can prepare stained vegetables instantly by just adding water or hot water and is perfect for baby food.
No artificial coloring, non-scented, additive-free, and no preservatives. It extracts the natural flavor of vegetables and tastes really good.
▲They offer five flavors; from the left: potato (Danshaku), potato (Inka No Mezame), corn (super sweet corn), pumpkin, carrot.
You can adjust the hardness with the amount of water or hot water, so you can make it like soup or sauce. Even adults can eat it deliciously.
I will introduce delicious Babypota born in Hokkaido that was selected as FOOD ACTION NIPPON AWARD 2018 (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries), Kita No High Grade Shokuhin S (Northern high graded foods, Hokkaido), and Kita No Brand 2019 (Brands in the north, Sapporo City Chamber of Commerce).
The babypota project begun - Hokkaido has much more potentialsI visited the president of Hokkaido Products, who plans and distributes Babypota, Iori Kage.
▲Iori Kage, the president of Hokkaido Products. He is born in Osaka, a social worker, and mental health worker.
Kage was born in Osaka and decided to have a life here in Hokkaido after graduating a university here.
Some people stay in Hokkaido after graduating from universities because they are attracted to nature in Hokkaido. However, in the case of Kage is a bit different.
“I am not saying Hokkaido should be independent, but when I consider Hokkaido as a big island country, I assume that Hokkaido has the potential to be an independent country. The economy is the most important thing to achieve that. And I think Hokkaido has much more potential for economic growth.”
“Hokkaido has much more potential, and we can make use of hidden resources.”
And when he thought about the strength of Hokkaido, he decides to pursue “food” among tourism, nature, and food.
“When I thought about food, there are many things for adults but not many products for children. That brought me the idea of developing baby foods made of ingredients in Hokkaido.” Kage told.
According to Kage, the market for children is over 3.5 trillion yen. The market size is growing every year because of the decrease in the number of children made people spend more for one child.
▲5 bottles set in a gift box is 5,940 yen (including tax) and 3 bottles set is 3,618 yen (including tax). This might be a perfect baby-birth gift.
He was speedy after deciding his direction to produce baby foods.
He thought that it would take too much time if he tried to make everything by himself. He searched for companies who have experience in food processing and found Takinoue Sangyo, who had been manufacturing vegetable flakes for over 30 years in Takinoue-Cho. He visited the company instantly and talked about his plan.
▲Takinoue Sangyo has a long experience in producing vegetable flakes. “Babypota is the highest graded vegetable flakes,” Kage says.
* Provided picture
After deciding the manufacturer, he started thinking about the package design. He visited Masayuki Terashima, one of the most famous art directors and graphic designers in Hokkaido, and talked with him directly about his plan.
At the same time, he started seeking distribution.
▲Kage says that startup can only win by speed.
Kage first had his eyes on Takashimaya Department Store.
“Takashimaya had a child dedicated floor called ‘Hello Baby Salon,’ and it was operated directly by Takashimaya. I seriously wanted them to put Babypota on the shelves.”
Takashimaya got really interested in Babypota, and they could start the deal on the condition to test at the baby fair in autumn.
However, Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake happened on September 6, 2018.
Their stocks broke from the earthquake, and they thought they might not be able to ship on schedule. However, buyers, vendors, factories, and many more people helped him, and he could ship the products to Takashimaya even though being a victim.
Customers feedbacks were amazing. He got confident by the satisfactory sales performance at Takashimaya.
Babypota now has become a regular product in Takashimaya.
Babypota started in April 2018 to make Hokkaido’s economy stronger. He succeeded to develop a new area of the economy; additive-free made with Hokkaido ingredients only and safe baby food from Hokkaido.
Its characteristics - made 100% with Hokkaido produced ingredientsThe ingredients of Babypota is all single breed developed by contract farmers. They only use fresh vegetables that passed the babies and infants food standards (*1).
* The photo is for an image.
No artificial coloring, non-scented, additive-free, and no preservatives. They don’t mix anything unnecessary, and the natural flavors of vegetables are extracted into flakes.
The past vegetable flakes had different thickness, and some of them left unpleasant texture in a month when it’s prepared with hot water. However, Babypota adjusts the thickness by millimeters. So the texture becomes really smooth after preparing with water or hot water and babies eat well.
▲Example of preparing Babypota is decorated porridge. They made carrot patterns with carrot flake and broccoli, soft serve patterns with potato flakes and corn flakes.
* Provided picture
And they don’t mix old flakes and new flakes.
▲They adjust the thickness by millimeters.
* Provided picture
They are that much particular about qualities.
Voices from moms - easy to prepare and really delicious!They started the project in April 2018, and it was so fast until they started to sell. Although the time was really short, they asked moms who have infants to try the food during the product development process. They gathered feedbacks about flavor, recipes, package design, etc., and those are reflected on products.
* Provided picture
“They gave us honest opinions. For example, some people said that the amount was too much and they would not buy.” Kage told.
Hokkaido Products host “Babypota Salon,” which moms and dads try samples of Babypota and propose recipes. They help to build an environment that parents can enjoy raising children.
* Provided picture
“Of course, I think that it is ideal to prepare baby foods from scratch using seasonal ingredients. However, not everyone can do that. Recently, both parents work, and they have a lot of chores to do other than preparing meals. In those busy days, I hope they could make some time to interact with their children by using Babypota to make time to prepare foods shorter.”
In fact, you can prepare Babypota by just adding water or hot water, so it’s effortless to prepare.
▲The pack time is cheaper for everyday use. Each pack type is 1,080 yen (including tax) for 80 grams. They also offer a smaller size in 594 yen (including tax) for 40grams for those who want to try first.
This easiness is accepted very well to mothers, but the strongest reaction to the food is its flavor. The flakes are actually really delicious.
* Provided picture
You can feel the natural flavor of each ingredient; potatoes, corns, pumpkins, and carrots. And even adults can enjoy it by different recipes.
“For example, prepare corn flavor of Babypota into a paste, like mashed potatoes, wrap it with Gyoza dough, and grill it. It becomes a really delicious snack for adults that matches really well with wines and beers.” Kage told me.
What happened to Babypota when 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake occurred?Babypota was supposed to be in the market in early September 2018 at Takashimaya Department Store. However, because of the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake, they were not in a condition for that.
Kage, too, traveled to the damaged area to volunteer right after the earthquake.
And he brought Babypota with him.
▲Babypota is best before 1.5 years unopened and expiry date is for 2 years. It’s also suitable for stock foods.
Relief goods arrived from all over Japan to the damaged area. However, although there were many foods for adults, there were not many baby foods for infants.
Babypota can be prepared only water, so people found it useful in damaged areas where they could not use electricity nor gas. Not only that, because it was delicious for adults, Babypota was popular as snacks, too.
“Thanks to our customers, Babypota is getting positive reactions from inside and outside of Hokkaido and even from people from abroad. They like Babypota because it’s handy as it is easy to prepare at home and outside, it’s convenient, and more than anything, it’s delicious. But it’s not known to everyone yet, especially to those generations who have not heard vegetable flakes. I want to raise the familiarity of Babypota, which is the highest quality baby food.” Kage told me about his visions in the future.
And he is planning to develop a pre-packaged product as the next step of Babypota.
“There are pre-packaged baby foods in the market, but many of them require us to use everything once you open it. So I am planning to develop a tube-type baby food that is common in overseas. In that way, you can use it the amount of you like when babies want food, right?”
Where can we buy Babypota?You can buy Babypota at Takashima Department Store in Kanto Region and Kansai Region, Tsutaya Bookstore, Sapporo’s Kita No Brand Shop (Sapporo Chamber of Commerce), Dosanko Plaza in Sapporo Station, etc. The most reliable way to get these is their online store.
“My child does not like vegetables. How can I make him/her eat?”
“I am looking for easy-to-prepare baby foods for busy times.”
“Dads during the parental leave can help prepare foods with Babypota!”
“I was looking for baby-birth gifts for my friends.”
“I am looking for gifts for my grandchild who lives far away.”
Those who thought like that, try Babypota from Hokkaido.
(*1) The babies and infants food standards: Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, announced the lower radiation value standards for baby foods for infants under one-year-old in April 2012. (Common food: 100 becquerel/kg, Food for infants: 50 becquerel/kg)
Related Links- Hokkaido made baby potage
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Hokkaido Likers writer Takako Chiba
Photo: Tomoya Suwa
Provided pictures: Hokkaido Products