March 24, 2022

Nikhil Gupte: Managing Dir. Barilla Japan. Expanding Italian Pasta in Japan

Nikhil Gupte: Managing Dir. Barilla Japan. Expanding Italian Pasta in Japan
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A very entertaining conversation all about the Italian pasta business in Japan.  This episode you meet Nikhil Gupte the Managing Director for Barilla Japan.  Barilla is a 145 year old family owned Italian food company and Nikhil is responsible for introducing their traditions, values, and world famous pasta to the Japanese market. What happens when Italian authenticity comes up against Japanese Wafu style pasta recipes? Why Barilla's packaging is unique only to Japan?  How has COVID changed the way Japanese consume pasta? The cultural reason spaghetti is far and above the most popular pasta style in Japan. Nikhil's very first trip to Japan was when he came to take over the MD position. Yes, business cultural challenges were / are numerous.  How has he overcome these?  Additional highlights from our conversation:

  • Only-in-Japan customer complaints
  • Speak about our mutual respect for Costco and their top management
  • Which story-telling messages work best in Japan
  • The innovative story of introducing an industry 1st, paper pasta packaging 
  • How he was able to get staff to speak up in meetings
  • Why most high-end Italian restaurants don't use Barilla pasta despite its top quality reputation
  • How living in Japan for 4 years has transformed him professionally
  • Introduces one of his favorite restaurants in Tokyo using Barilla pasta, it's not Italian
  • Some pasta history in Japan
  • Why "strange" shape pasta is not as popular as long pasta
  • His  favorite  untranslatable Japanese word

Barilla Japan:

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