Newspaper publisher bets on insect chocolate

Druckmaschine für den Zeitungsdruck
Printing centers will soon hardly be needed for newspapers. (Image: B. Phrom / unsplash)

The media are undergoing major changes, and newspaper publishers are getting creative. Can insect chocolate help against declining revenues?

Necessity is the mother of all invention, as the saying goes. And necessity is the order of the day in the media industry. Readers are increasingly switching to digital offerings and ignoring print newspapers more and more.

As a result, the entire newspaper world is in flux.

From top to flop

With daily sales of 400,000 copies, for example, the Japanese newspaper “Shinano Mainichi Shimbun” is still the absolute top dog in the Nagano region.

However, despite its 150-year history, the technology-loving Japanese no longer really want the paper. The newspaper business is also gradually declining there.

Other forms of sales

Of course, those responsible in Japan tried to do exactly the same thing as the traditional Swiss media and relied on an online newspaper, but also book publishers and operated as travel agents.

After all, journalists have a wide range of knowledge and this could be marketed by the newspaper houses in other forms, mainly digitally, with books or with travel.

But even the Swiss publishing house TX-Group recently realized that it would hardly be able to utilize its three printing centers and all its real estate in the future, as also reported.

Unusual business winning

The Japanese then set up a department to develop new business areas about three years ago, as the business magazine “brand eins” reported on the case in its latest issue. Initially, the Japanese publisher wanted to get into the electricity business.

But then the Japanese, known for unusual changes, discovered a completely new field of activity.

The talk is of insect-based foods. The latter have actually been consumed in the Nagano region for centuries, and above the idea of producing luxury products with insects, a new business idea was born.

Protein deficiency as trend

As is customary in business administration when developing a strategy, the newspaper wisely focuses on so-called megatrends. In the case of the Japanese publisher, this is clearly a market of the future due to global warming and rising prices for meat and other protein sources.

At the moment, people may still be somewhat averse to insects as food, the publisher said. But they are ‘a delicacy’ – especially in combination with chocolate, they touted.

Cookies with bee larvae

The newspaper company took in the equivalent of 15,000 Swiss francs with the new business right at the start in April last year because the first 130 insect chocolate bars sold out within a week.

Flavors apparently ranged from bee larvae cocktails to silkworm meringues.

According to the information, the investment, including a cooperation with a star chef from the region, amounted to around 150,000 Swiss francs, which means that around ten percent of the expenditure on the luxury gourmet offering was quickly recouped as sales.

Yogurt with sausage?

And if the Japanese newspaper itself reports on the new business, this will be consistently marked as advertising, the publisher assured.

Other Japanese newspaper publishers, such as the “Kobe-Shimbun” or the “Nishinippon Shimbun,” are already focusing on the trend with food. They are not producing Kobe beef but organic sake, the traditional Japanese liquor, or are producing tofu.

So when will Swiss newspaper publishers come up with gourmet rösti, natural cherry or organic Bündnerfleisch?

Or even more exotic, a Birchermüsli with whitefish fillet or a yogurt with pieces of St. Gallen sausage?

In any case, innovations are likely to do the companies some good.


Newspaper publisher bets on insect chocolate

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