A Taste of Japanese Culture through Snacks

Bokksu is a subscription box company that brings you authentic Japanese snacks right to your doorstep, so you don’t have to travel to Japan to find them. They not only focus on delicious snacks but also prioritize sustainable business practices by supporting small family businesses in Japan.

Tasting Japanese Culture: Snack Exploration with Food & Beverage Magazine

Bokksu offers a subscription box filled with premium Japanese snacks that you won’t find at your local grocery store. Each box is carefully curated to represent a different theme each month, highlighting Japan’s holidays, prefectures, and festivals. They have established long-term relationships with small family snack makers who help create new snacks every month. Their sourcing team in Japan searches the country for the best and most exclusive treats. Around 50 of these snacks are then shipped to their office in New York City, where the entire Bokksu team tries and rates them based on taste, texture, and theme. Only the very best snacks make it into the monthly box.

Founder and CEO Danny Taing personally tastes every snack that is selected for the boxes to ensure the highest quality curation. The idea for Bokksu came to Taing when he lived in Japan and fell in love with the local snacks. When he returned to New York City, he brought back a suitcase full of snacks to share with friends and family, and they loved them!

To meet the growing demand for these unique snacks in the US, Taing decided to create a service that would partner directly with local family snack makers in Japan. His goal was to deliver their artisanal snacks and share their rich stories with people worldwide. In 2015, inspired by his passion for Japanese culture, Asian-American representation, and entrepreneurship, Taing founded Bokksu.

As a first-time founder working solo with limited resources, Taing used social media to its fullest extent for growth. Bokksu initially “launched” by sharing the concept on Taing’s personal Facebook profile and encouraging friends and friends of friends to subscribe as early founding members. Through in-house social media content, partnerships with influencers and affiliates, and word of mouth, it took about 1.5 years to reach 1,000 subscribers.

Taing’s resourcefulness and dedication paid off, as Bokksu quickly gained popularity. Today, the company is valued at $100 million and has a team of 50 employees, with 80% of them identifying as BIPOC, female, and/or LGBTQ+. Bokksu prioritizes its core values in hiring and retaining its team members, and many have been with the company for years.

Bokksu’s mission also extends to empowering small family businesses in Japan by sharing their snacks and stories with the world.

Many small family businesses in Japan have been operating for hundreds of years, which has resulted in a perfect craft and production of some of the best snack foods in the world. However, their tried-and-true traditions can also make it difficult for them to adapt to the fast-changing trends of digital transformation, global shipping disruptions, and more. This is where Bokksu comes in and has successfully bridged Japanese small family businesses with the world.

Some of its most essential core values include authenticity, empathy, perseverance, and curiosity. These values allow them to continually improve their service by discovering the best artisanal products, developing deep relationships with traditional makers, and listening to customers’ needs.

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 Japanese food culture has rapidly increased in popularity in the U.S. and the world for the last few decades. However, many people still have difficulty accessing premium Japanese snacks due to linguistic, cultural, and commercial barriers. One of the most significant ways Bokksu connects its customers to this cuisine is through the Bokksu Culture Guide created and included each month. It describes each snack’s flavor profile, origin, and common allergens so even those who cannot read the Japanese packaging can still enjoy and learn something new. The company also includes articles about Japanese culture and teaches some Japanese vocabulary.

Bokksu practices cultural sustainability from day one by establishing a sustainable supply chain with its makers. Each Bokksu Snack Box purchased by customers represents products bought at fair prices from a dozen family businesses on standard terms they are familiar with, which in turn supports, preserves, and promotes their craft and traditions.

To find out more, visit bokksu.com and follow on Facebook @ bokksu, Instagram @ bokksu and TikTok @ bokksu. Follow Bokksu’s Founder, Danny Taing on Instagram @ dannytaing