Recognized throughout Brazil for its chemical-free and organic foods, Korin has established a class of its own, by breaking from conventional industrial methods and prioritizing philosophy over profits. Korin produces chicken, eggs, fruits and vegetables and is set to increase its product mix, thanks to the success of its alternative attitude.
Finding a market niche for natural chicken, a healthy yet more affordable alternative to organic, Korin has the industry asking what real differences its philosophy implies.
The results are clear, great-tasting, antibiotic-free chicken from a company committed to the ethical treatment of animals.
Reginaldo Morikawa, CEO of Korin explains: “We have changed the way chicken is produced, creating a humane product – between conventional and organic – and licensed it for sale.”
Korin bases its corporate values on the work of Japanese philosopher Mokiti Okada. His teachings prioritize the perfect balance between preservation and the use of natural resources.
The company believes in the spirit of all things – animals, vegetables and all beings – and the union of work, competence and spirituality generates positive results.
“To recognize the spiritual mission of food is to contribute to its quality and biological value – food is life,” Morikawa says.
Respecting the harmony of the environment and actively working to preserve the future are also important in Okada’s beliefs. Just as the state of true health can only be reached through the consumption of natural foods, without chemicals or toxins, which alter its biological value and negatively affect our health.
Following these principles, Korin produces natural foods, which are cultivated and prepared accordingly.
When the company was founded in 1993, the market offered two options: conventional, industrially-produced or organic chicken. “There were no laws regarding the production of natural foods, so we created them,” Morikawa explains.
Enter AVAL, The Brazilian Association of Alternative Poultry Farming – an organ, which Morikawa also presides over. “Through AVAL, we established market norms for the raising and processing of natural chicken in agreement with our philosophy,” he explains.
Approval from the Federal Government was awarded in 2003, shortly after regulations and processes were officially accepted by the state of São Paulo.
Essentially, Korin chickens are raised without anti-biotic or chemical growth treatments and without feed containing animal products.
“We do not use conventional growth hormone supplements or performance enhancing chemicals. The process of eliminating anti-biotics was not easy, as removing protection from some diseases proved fatal for some birds. However, we persisted and were successful,” Morikawa affirms.
Industrial chicken feed contains animal products, such as beef and animal oil. These ingredients are unnecessary for healthy chickens and Korin uses only corn and soy feed.
So, what is the difference between a Korin chicken and an organic chicken? Morikawa clarifies: “The difference is the feed; natural chicken is fed on soy and corn feed cultivated by conventional farmers and not labeled organic. Korin also produces organic chicken.”
The health of Korin chicken is guaranteed by the addition of essential oils and natural pro-biotic ingredients such as cinnamon, lemon grass, parsley and basil. “The chicken, despite an average life of 46 days, has a balanced nutrition and lives in humane conditions,” Morikawa confirms.
Korin chicken is certified by ECOCERT, which applies HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) to production.
Korin has fewer birds per square meter than conventional producers; they are free-range and have access to outside areas, as well as being able to lay eggs in nests – assuring their fair treatment and well-being.
“We see our chickens as beings, not products. It is not simply a question of better treatment and no suffering. We believe that healthy chickens are not only better quality meat, but healthier nutritionally and spiritually for our consumers,” Morikawa explains.
The nature of Korin has attracted the support of the consumer. Notably, the Jewish community has embraced Korin chicken, owing to the fact that the birds are fed exclusively on corn and soy, with no beef or pork derivatives: “Around 30,000 kilograms of Korin chicken are consumed by our Jewish customers every month,” confirms Morikawa.
The company sells products to 1,600 retailers, including 90 restaurants in 24 Brazilian states.
“Our customers, who insist on Korin chicken at home, look for Korin chicken in restaurants and so restaurateurs are realizing the importance of adding us to their menus,” Morikawa says.
Despite the popularity of Korin chicken, the company has over 200 products – surprising for the consumer who first heard about the brand because of the breakthrough in natural chicken.
Korin uses the bokashi method of cultivation. Bokashi is Japanese for fermented organic matter – a fertilizer alternative that uses vegetable and fruit waste combined with an inoculants such as wheat germ and effective microorganisms.
Morikawa adds: “Our corn for chicken feed is produced using bokashi.” Korin’s chickens consume around 1,600 tons of feed a month.
Chicken represents 85 percent of sales. Korin produces chilled and frozen whole chickens and chicken cuts. In 2011, Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) pieces in practical, zipper-closing 1 kilogram bags were introduced.
Also in 2011, diverse products using naturally seasoned, roasted and pre-prepared Korin chicken were launched. The individual and family-size portions just need defrosting and heating up.
Korin produces 670,000 kilograms of chicken and 200,000 kilograms of fruit, vegetables and cereals a month. The company plans to launch four new organic rice products in 2013. Also on the menu are organic instant soups – with low-salt and ready in 10 seconds.
A recently agreed partnership with ABPO (Brazilian Association of Organic Agriculture) will see the introduction of Korin beef in the near future. Using organically raised cattle from the Pantanal marsh region in Mato Grosso do Sul in the south of Brazil; the company will market all beef cuts.
According to Morikawa, Korin’s motivation is not financial. The company has been profitable since 2009, reporting profit of $1 million in 2012. “For the last three years we have been re-investing monies and focusing on growing our concept and business,” he clarifies.
Korin plans to increase existing production by 6 to 10 percent over the next year.
Developing a new concept in the market is a proven success, by Korin’s unconventional and highly ethical standards.
Morikawa concludes: “We have earned consumer trust, not by trying to show what we are, but what we believe in. If it’s Korin, it’s good in every sense.”