Seven years ago, Shun Hashimoto had a demanding tech job that forced him to resort to cheap, convenient meals. Worried his health was deteriorating, he looked for ways to make his favorite dishes more nutritious. In 2016, after more than one hundred failed prototypes, he developed a savory, healthy pasta he was satisfied with. That turned into the first product marketed by Base Food, which he founded the same year.
Today, Base Food is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and recently received the Nikkei Excellent Products and Services Award Grand Prize, a top accolade from Japan’s most influential financial publisher. The company’s success has been enabled in part by Stripe, which has helped Base Food develop a fast-growing online presence that now accounts for more than half the company’s revenue.
“When we started operations, we had few people and could not devote resources to the implementation and operational management of a payment system,” said Yosuke Yamamoto, chief financial officer at Base Food. “When we switched to Stripe, I remember feeling very relieved.”
Driving innovation in staple foods
Base Food offers nutritionally complete food made from carefully selected ingredients such as whole grains, soybeans, and chia seeds. The company balances nutrition and flavor through a unique technology-based manufacturing process that reduces sugar content by around 30%.
Its most recent product is a line of mini breads, which launched last May and sold more than 100,000 bags in its first three weeks. Base Food is also expanding its footprint in physical stores and online. Its products are now available in more than 14,000 stores throughout Japan, and it has launched a meal subscription service that now has more than 300,000 members.
Financial infrastructure for nutritious foods
Base Food initially distributed its products primarily through physical stores, but today ecommerce accounts for 60% of its sales. That makes Stripe a critical ingredient in its success.
“When our products are covered by the media, site visits can jump 40-fold from regular levels, but with Stripe’s systems, there are no errors despite the extra load on the system,” Yamamoto said.
The Stripe Dashboard makes it easy for Base Food to quickly analyze sales and take immediate action against attempted credit card fraud, using the fraud-detection capabilities of Stripe Radar. The company also relies on Stripe’s four-business-day payout cycle for credit card transactions, which is the fastest in Japan. Most other payments providers issue payouts once or twice a month.
“We have a business model that involves purchasing and inventory, so the payment cycle was a sensitive issue, especially in the early days,” said Yamamoto.
Base Food is planning to expand internationally, beginning with Hong Kong, where it sees another opportunity to cater to the busy lifestyles of young urban professionals. As it does, its leadership team will turn again to Stripe—using Stripe’s global payments and treasury network (GPTN)—which makes it easy to realize cross-border ambitions.