Japan baker takes bread vending machine to Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Nov. 14 NNA - Japanese bread maker Como Co. installs Hong Kong's first bread vending machine in Tseung Kwan O, New Territories, as shown in a file photo taken on Nov. 6, 2018 (NNA/Kyodo)

HONG KONG, NNA - Japanese baker Como Co. has installed its first overseas vending machine in Hong Kong selling long-life bread products to local consumers as part of efforts to expand sales.

The machine, placed at an e-commerce company in Tseung Kwan O, New Territories, sells seven types of bread products priced at HK$12.90 (US$1.65) each, according to the firm based in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan.

Its sales agent Shin Tai Ho (HK) Co. will be responsible for restocking the machine, which was made by Fuji Electric Co. and can stock up to 120 products. The agent will also take care of future installations in Hong Kong.

The Japanese firm sells 30 percent of its products in Japan through vending machines and will aim for the same share in Hong Kong, Takanori Aoki, assistant general manager in the sales division, said. It is also considering vending machine sales in Singapore.

Michael Lau, Shin Tai Ho (HK)'s general manager, said it picked the location in the industrial estate for the vending machine for the convenience of employees working in the remote area with few eating places nearby.

The agent plans to increase the number of Como machines in Hong Kong to five by March 2019 and 100 by 2020, working with long-term collaborators in the convenience store and supermarket business.

"This is the first bread vending machine in Hong Kong. We will promote bread made in Japan," Lau said.

Como started doing business in Hong Kong in March 2017 and is also selling in Singapore and New Zealand.

Hong Kong food company QQ Rice, anticipating rising rents and employee costs, entered the vending machine market last year selling rice balls. (NNA/Kyodo)

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