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Over the past 30 years, as China’s economy has grown, Chinese consumers have gained access to a greater volume and variety of food. But more doesn’t always mean better; unhealthy, processed snack foods are everywhere, and consumers are hungry for better-quality fare. So, forward-thinking manufacturers, chefs, and tastemakers have begun to transform China’s food system, led by businesses like Shinho.

Shinho is a family-owned food maker that boasts more than a dozen brands of condiments and snacks, including Shanghai’s best-selling soy sauce Liu Yue Xian. But the company has larger ambitions to elevate the quality of food in China and nourish families around the world.

Shinho asked IDEO to help articulate this vision and define the company’s plan for the next decade of growth.

What if we start from the most foundational and with the most fundamental—what can we do to improve the lives of Chinese people?

Chairman Sun, founder, Shinho

IDEO helped position Shinho’s ingrained respect for food, family, and good health as a guiding principle for how the organization interacts with its employees and the wider world. IDEO integrated a new motto—“treat the world as family”—into every part of Shinho’s work, from sourcing and hiring to new ventures to the care employees take in handling each bottle of sauce destined for someone’s table.

IDEO and Shinho created a brand book for all Shinho employees to help them understand and contribute to the company's values.

While helping to transform Shinho’s internal culture, the IDEO team also crafted a narrative to communicate the company’s beliefs to new staff and outside partners. The team expressed Shinho’s foundational story in part through a published brand book and film, reimagined logo, and codified employee values.

“My proudest moment was when we brought the brand identity IDEO developed to life, and interpreted Shinho’s mission and vision through that lens in front of 2,000 employees at our annual meeting. It made me feel that even though we’re a group of ordinary people, we’re working on a great and meaningful thing," said Hanzhong Dong, Shinho's head of product.

 

Shinho’s heightened confidence and focus on supporting families has empowered the company to expand beyond soy sauce and snacks and explore new expertise, from culinary training to sustainable farming to food experiences.

In July 2017, Shinho stepped onto the international stage as a tastemaker by participating in an event called Food Forward, hosted by the Michelin Guide and IDEO. Michelin-starred restaurants are synonymous with superb ingredients and service. Shinho crafts safe, organic, high-quality products that are staples for Chinese chefs, and the company shares the Michelin Guide’s aim to celebrate and expand the role of fine dining in China. IDEO brought all parties together with the shared goals of elevating China's culinary craft and culture, inspiring people around the future of food in China, and encouraging fruitful connections and partnerships.

Families and chefs are the ultimate guardians of what goes into our stomachs. That’s why chefs are so important to the food ecosystem. The reason for this event is to help chefs make the right decisions about ingredients and elevate Chinese cuisine in the world.

Chairman Sun, founder, Shinho

Clockwise, from top left: Hanzhong Dong speaks on a panel at Food Forward; guests enjoy food prepared by Michelin-starred restaurant chefs; Chef Paul Pairet from Ultraviolet shares life stories that shaped his view on food;panelists discuss how to get analogous inspiration for food

IDEO and the Michelin Guide organized the day-long event, which included guest speakers, panel discussions, and tastings with four international, Michelin-starred restaurant chefs. Speakers and panelists discussed culinary education, inclusion, and the interplay between tradition and innovation in food. More than 200 people attended from across the food ecosystem: chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, investors, and educators. The event’s livestream garnered 30 million global views and 800,000 engagements.

Shinho’s products now reach 30 million families in 232 cities around the globe, driven by a cohesive mission and brand message. This kind of values-driven growth and hunger for new partnerships is setting the course for the future of food in China and throughout the region.

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