After more than a decade, popular Japanese confectionery and chocolatier Morozoff is making a comeback in Singapore, with the opening of a new stand-alone boutique at Plaza Singapura.
The boutique, which sells 90 per cent of Morozoff's full range of offerings, including chocolates, cookies and packaged baked goods such as madeleines, opened last Friday.
Founded in Kobe in 1931, the brand had been previously available here from 1984 at the now-shuttered Japanese department store Daimaru at Liang Court. It did not re-enter the local market after Daimaru closed in 2003.
This time round, Morozoff is brought in by Uptron, an electronics and gaming company that distributes across South-east Asia. The opening also marks the company's first foray into the food and beverage scene.
Morozoff is the latest in a new wave of Japanese food brands to set up shop here. These include Maple Mania and Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory.
The brand has more than 1,000 shops and 33 cafes in Japan and is also available in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Dubai. The Singapore shop is its 19th overseas outlet.
On the decision to enter the food and beverage scene, Uptron's director and chief operating officer Girish Pradeep Tewani, 28, says: "We wanted to diversify our business. The food sector is getting big and, these days, with the growing presence of online shopping, people go to malls for food and to dine.
"As such, we see our foray into food and beverage as an appropriate path."
Uptron plans to open about 10 Morozoff shops and cafes locally over the next few years. It also wants to take Morozoff to other South-east Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
For Mr Tewani, Morozoff cookies are particularly special.
When he was growing up, his father, Uptron's founder Pradeep Kumar Tewani, would bring Morozoff cookies home from his business trips to Japan and the younger Tewani has been a fan of the brand since.
It then seemed only fitting that Uptron's first food business would be to bring Morozoff back to Singapore, which has been about a year in the making .
Mr Tewani is unfazed about the competitive confectionery scene here, as he believes that there is room for the brand's unique product offerings.
Uptron will also be looking into setting up a central kitchen when it opens its cafes, so that it can produce Morozoff's signature Denmark Cream Cheese Cake and Custard Pudding, which are currently unavailable here.
Morozoff's president Shinji Yamaguchi, 58, adds: "Singapore is very affluent and modern. Many Japanese people also live here. We recognise that our products may be more high-end, but we see potential here because of the (higher) standard of living ."
Morozoff's items are air-flown to Singapore at least once a week. Prices start at $15 for a box of nine chocolates, $8 for a 155g bag of cocoa peanuts - peanuts coated in a cocoa and sugar glaze - and $10 for bag of cookies. A wide range of assorted chocolate and cookie gift boxes is also available.
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• Morozoff is at 01-61 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road. It is open from 10.30am to 9.30pm daily. Call 6341-9967 or go to www.morozoff.co.jp