Together with Customers

Commitment to Quality

Basic Concept

Since Morinaga’s foundation, the Morinaga Group has consistently developed, manufactured and sold a diverse range of products. We believe that the mission of a food company is to always assure safety and secure quality and contribute to the healthy diet of our customers in addition to accurately read and understand the increasingly diversified needs of customers and society, undertake research and development, and provide new value.

Quality Policy

In realizing our vision—Delicious, Fun, and Healthy—we recognize our customers’ trust as the most precious value, and we cherish our relationships of trust with customers.
We are aware that this trust is premised on continuing to develop and provide customers with products, services, and information that contribute to society, on placing the utmost priority on creating excellent quality products, and on ensuring customer safety and well-being, while at the same time expanding all Group company business activities in accordance with our corporate principles and in compliance with laws and ordinances, the corporate Code of Conduct, and internal regulations.

Quality Policy We pursue the goal of delivering products that meet our customers’ expectations, by placing the utmost priority on excellent product quality together with safety and peace of mind.

Quality Initiatives

In an effort to deliver safe products to our customers, we have established a safety-focused quality assurance system that employs various approaches and mechanisms throughout all processes from product development to procurement, production, distribution, and sales.
If a customer gives feedback about our products after the delivery thereof, we respond to it by conducting a variety of quality investigations and analyses and reporting their results back to the customer. We share these types of information within our organization to leverage it for purposes of product development and improvement If an unexpected event occurs to our products, we would be committed to disclosing information accurately and promptly in order to restore our customers’ trust.

Steps and Quality Assurance System Until Our Products Reach Our Customers

1. Product Developmentment

In designing the quality and packages/containers and making proper labels, we comply with food-related laws and our internal rules set to protect the quality of products on store shelves as well as the quality and safety up to the best-before date.

Quality assessment system

Our Quality Assessment System is designed to identify and remove risks involved in any new or renewed products in the development phase, by reviewing and checking them in a cross-sectional and overarching manner before making the decision to launch them into the market, through the use of a checklist that covers 12 categories and approximately 180 items to check. Our product development process involves a number of divisions, with each of them being responsible for reviewing and confirming the product’s safety and other specifications. At the same time, our Quality Assessment System serves as a cross-sectional tool to avoid any oversight or unchecked areas and ensure a consistent level of quality and regulatory compliance.

2. Procurement of Raw Materials

We have prescribed strict regulations for the raw materials used in our products, and purchase ingredients from manufacturers who can meet these requirements. We check information on the safety and security of raw materials with regard to not only compliance with the Food Sanitation Act but also food additives and allergenic substances. We also conduct necessary testing, confirming that raw materials are safe.

3. Production

All of our domestic production factories (four Morinaga factories and three affiliated production companies) have obtained the FSSC 22000 accreditation, an international accreditation standard for food safety systems.

[Accredited factories] (As of June 30, 2020)

Mishima Factory, Oyama Factory, Chukyo Factory, Tsurumi Factory, Takasaki Morinaga Co., Ltd., Morinaga Angel Dessert Co., Ltd., and Morinaga Dessert Co., Ltd.

4. Shipping Inspection

Once produced in a factory, products undergo a shipping inspection as a final check in the factory before they reach our customers. The shipping inspection process is the last line of defense to ensure the safety for our customers. Specifically, the process is designed to verify the product’s flavor, alignment with specified color tones, dimensions, and weight, and observance of bacterial standards (microorganism control), to identify any broken or defective packages, and to look at whether the best-before date is printed correctly.

Product inspection (measurement of the length and weight to determine the adherence to specifications)

Product inspection (measurement of the length and weight to determine the adherence to specifications)

5. Transportation/Storage/In-store Management

To deliver safe products to our customers, we request our business partners in the logistics chain—warehouses, transportation companies, wholesale and retail trade—to set rules, provide employee training, and ensure cooperation so as not to impair the quality of our products.

Analysis

The Morinaga Group is constantly engaged in the analysis and material characterization of, and the development of analytical techniques for, nutritional and functional ingredients, chemical substances, heavy metals, microorganisms, food allergens, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Based on scientific and objective evidences, we verify the safety and regulatory compliance of, and provide warranty to, the product development, raw materials, production, logistics, products, and defective products reported by customers.

Measurement of food allergens (specified raw materials)

Measurement of food allergens (specified raw materials)

Response to Customers’ Opinions and Feedback

If a product is reported to be defective by a customer, we immediately carry out an investigation and analysis, verify compliance with quality and regulatory requirements, and report the results to the customer. Further, we quarterly hold a meeting of the Customer Voice Committee with the aim of taking customers’ opinions and feedback into consideration in our company-wide efforts to improve product quality, packaging, labeling, sales campaigns, advertisements, and so forth.

Communication with Customers

Food Defense

As part of our efforts to prevent foreign substances being intentionally inserted into foods, we first of all endeavor to create a workplace environment where it is easy to work and importance is placed on communication, raising employee awareness so that they act in a manner that gives highest priority to customers’ safety and peace of mind. On top of this, we implement both tangible and intangible measures to reduce risks, including stricter management of entry/exit to/from factory premises and production facilities, rigid compliance with rules concerning the prevention of contamination (restrictions on personal belongings allowed to be brought in and the handling of chemicals), and installation of camera-based recording systems.

Controller room

Controller room

Camera-based recording system

Camera-based recording system

Traceability

Throughout the process from raw materials and ingredients to manufacturing, storage, and delivery, we maintain product traceability by keeping complete records of, and take strict control over, raw materials and products. We also carry out training on a regular basis and confirm whether the traceability system is working properly.

Traceability is checked using with a bar code reader

Traceability is checked using with a bar code reader

Correct and Easy-to-understand Labeling

In addition to being in compliance with laws such as the Food Labeling Act, labeling on packaging provides important information for customers when selecting products. We contrive ways to ensure health-related information such as allergy information, nutritional information, and best-before dates are easy to read and understand. We are also engaged in efforts to label individual packaging with allergen information and cross-contamination statements in sequence (a warning for possible contamination arising from production at shared facilities) (excluding those of certain products).

Product label on the package of DARS <Milk>

Product label on the package of DARS <Milk>

Response to Food Allergies

We provide not only legible and easy-to-understand allergen data on product packages but a list of allergens on our website to help customers feel safe when selecting our products. For the sake of customers with allergies, we will continue to carry out strict quality control over specified raw materials and their equivalents as part of our sustained efforts to deliver safe products to our customers.

Allergen-related information (website) Chocoball <Peanuts>

Genetically Modified Raw Materials

In principle, we do not use genetically modified materials in our products. Soybeans and corns are treated under Identity Preserved Handling (IP Handling) so that genetically modified raw materials are not included.
We use vegetable oils, emulsifiers, flavors, etc. that contain ingredients not critically separated from genetically modified crops. However, it is not required to list these ingredients on product labels, as their protein component has been removed or decomposed during the production process and therefore it is technically infeasible to determine whether the food is genetically modified or not.

Quality Assurance Initiatives Overseas

All of our three overseas production bases—Taiwan Morinaga Co., Ltd., Morinaga Food (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd., and Morinaga America Foods, Inc.—have received third-party accreditation under an international accreditation standard for food safety systems (FSSC 22000 and SQF*), demonstrating their commitment to safe production procedures. We also include our overseas production subcontractors in the scope of quality inspections to confirm that they ship safe products under an appropriate quality assurance system.

  • *SQF (Safe Quality Food): An international accreditation standard that combines a HACCP-based food safety management system and a quality control system to ensure food safety and quality.

Process inspection in Morinaga America Foods, Inc.

Process inspection in Morinaga America Foods, Inc.

X-ray inspection in Morinaga America Foods, Inc.

X-ray inspection in Morinaga America Foods, Inc.

Initiatives by Cooperating Companies

The Morinaga Group has not only its own production facilities but a number of cooperating companies (approximately 90 companies as of April 2020) who act as our production subcontractors in Japan.
Before entering into a subcontract with a cooperating company, we confirm that they have in place a quality control system that is comparable to that of the Morinaga Group’s production facilities by conducting a Good Manufacturing Factory (GMF) Inspection* and checking a maximum of more than 150 points.
Even after the subcontract is entered into, we continue to carry out the GMF Inspection regularly and request the cooperating company to maintain and enhance its quality control system, while sharing necessary information through information exchange forums, etc. and providing support imperative for quality improvement.

  • *GMF (Good Manufacturing Factory): Morinaga’s quality inspection system in which factories are visited by inspectors to determine whether systems are in place for allergen control, avoidance of contamination by foreign substances, microbial control, etc.

Communication with Customers

Framework for Customer Satisfaction

The Morinaga Group considers customers’ voices as the key to creating better products and services and to formulating management strategies. Led by the Customer Service Center, Production Management Division, and Quality Assurance Division, a meeting of the Customer Voice Committee is held quarterly to share customers’ voices among all relevant divisions.
In the meeting, attendees share, for example, ideas that may lead to an improvement of products and services and measures to improve the manufacturing-related division, and the Director in charge reports them to the Board of Directors.
All of the customers’ voices we received are shared by officers and the entire organization, on a daily basis through the daily report, and on a monthly basis as a tabulated data. This enables us to detect issues at their early stages, take countermeasures promptly, and make efficient use of the voices in our marketing activities including product development and sales promotion.
Furthermore, our Customer Service Center has committed itself to achieving a higher level of customer satisfaction in accordance with ISO 10002, with which the Company made a self-declaration of conformity in 2013.

Customer Voice Committee —Mechanism for Making Use of Customers’ Voices—

Initiatives by the Customer Service Center

Having established the Customer Service Department as a point of direct contact with customers, we ensure to respond to our customers in a sincere, swift, and accurate manner through such means as telephone numbers, emails, and letters. We share customers’ opinions and requests across the organization and make use of them for the improvement of products and services. We have published frequently asked Q&A on our website to help our customers find solutions speedily.

Breakdown of Inquiries to the Customer Service Department (FY2020/3)

Results of Customer Satisfaction Survey

Our Customer Service Department is in charge of addressing feedback from customers. It analyzes every piece of feedback, investigate the cause, and report the result to the customer who gave the feedback. With the report, we enclose a postcard that requests the recipient to respond to a survey, which we undertake annually to assess the level of customer satisfaction with our customer service. We use the survey results to make further improvements to our customer service practices.
The FY2020/3 survey shows that 93.4% of our customers are satisfied with our customer service as a whole, and 93.1% want to buy our products “more than ever” or “as ever.” We interpret that these favorable responses from those who once gave feedback regarding our products or services are the results of our ongoing efforts to offer sincere, prompt, and accurate service.
On the other hand, we also hear critical comments and remarks from our customers. Seeing them as valuable feedback that helps us make our services better, we will make use of them in our efforts for the future.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Improving Products and Services Based on Customers’ Voices

We share our customers’ voices across the organization and make use of them to detect issues in an early stage and create better products and services. Favorable comments about our products are published in wall newspapers, which are distributed monthly to individual divisions and departments as well as branches and factories nationwide. Even when we receive critical comments, we take them seriously and make use them to improve our products and services. Some of the improvements made in response to them are posted on our website.

Use of easier-to-open caps (website)

Use of easier-to-open caps (website)

Wall newspaper No. 112, published in December 2019

Wall newspaper No. 112, published in December 2019

Wider Q&A Information on Website

We regularly update the list of questions and answers on our website to improve the content. Most frequently asked questions are included in the FAQ section. Questions in the section are sorted in the order of how frequently they are asked, helping users find necessary information easily.

Wider Q&A Information on Website