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Many an ex-pat in Japan has lamented the inability to find that special treat or food item that reminds them of being “back home”. Enter Frante, a Nagoya-based supermarket chain carrying a wide selection of foreign foods, cheeses, snacks, wines and much, much more. ETJ recently caught up with Yasumasa Matsunaga, the General Manager of the Frante specialty supermarket chain to learn more about this foreign grocery haven.

What makes Frante different from most supermarkets in Japan?
In 1996 Yamanaka, Frante’s parent company, introduced its upscale Frante Supermarket brand out of a desire to internationalize Japan and provide novel, foreign foods and delicacies to the public. Featuring a wide selection of international cheeses, meats, snacks, beers, wines and specialty products, Frante hits the mark. While explaining Frante’s origins, Matsunaga shared, “When we started out, it was our goal to give people a new kind of supermarket. We set out to create an American-style supermarket that would offer the finest food products from around the world.

Grocery Shopping in Japan: The Ex-Pat’s Dilemma
Since arriving in Japan, have you ever had the impulse to indulge your chocolate fantasies with a delicious, artery clogging Tim Tam? What about a craving for a real, Mexican style homemade taco? If you find yourself longing for some hometown-nostalgic edibles (or drinkables), look no further. With its motto of, “More Healthy. More Tasty,” and its wide selection of imported foods, Frante is the ideal grocery shopping destination for members of the ex-pat community in Nagoya.

You may already know of one of the few international specialty food stores located in Nagoya, but getting there might entail an out of the way jaunt to a sub-supermarket that, while having lots of international treats, offers few of the standard staple groceries. Frante allows you to kill two birds with one stone. Get all of your standard groceries such as rice, bread, milk, toiletries, etc… but at the same time, pick up some of those hard to come by (and all-too essential), imported food items that can provide at least temporary respite from your foreign-food cravings.

Imported Products and Special Services you won’t find elsewhere

With fresh fish and meat markets, a floral shop, a bakery, organic fruits and vegetables and even a stylish café, Frante actually gives the feel of a western-style supermarket. Further, a number of unique customer service benefits are also on offer. For instance, where else can you go to get free refills of pure spring water? After purchasing a refillable water container for \1,500, customers can come in daily to fill-up their water jugs absolutely free (up to 3 refills per day).

Are you in need of nutritional information?
Each of Frante’s 4 locations are staffed by a knowledgeable nutrition specialist that can answer any questions customers might have regarding nutrition or food preparation (Japanese and limited English language capabilities).

Do you need to get a special kind of wine or liqueur?
Frante is extremely proud of its vast supply of foreign wines, beers and liqueurs selected by professional tasters. For the wine aficionado, a professional wine specialist is even on-hand in-store to answer any questions or offer an informed recommendation.

How does Frante stay ahead of the game?
To ensure Frante stays ahead of the competition, Matsunaga and his staff are in constant communication with foreign suppliers. “We even embark on domestic and overseas trips to meet with new suppliers and learn about prospective new products. Before stocking a new product on our shelves, we do our research on how and where it is produced and ensure it lives up to our strict quality standards. All of our fruits and vegetables bear a description of where they were harvested. Today’s customers want to be informed. They want to know where their food products come from.”

To be sure, the quality and variety offered at Frante has not been lost on the ex-pat community. According to Matsunaga, roughly 5% of Frante customers are visibly “foreign”. “We actually have quite a variety of clientele. Even famous local personalities, such as Nagoya Dragons baseball players, frequent our flagship Yagoto branch.”
Pay a visit to any of Frante’s 4 Nagoya locations today to get a fix for your “tastes just like home” foreign food cravings.
Click HERE for a map to the Frante outlet closest to you. Business hours for each outlet are listed below.

Frante Yagoto
Nearest station/landmark:
Yagoto Station (Meijo Subway Line)
Business hours: (Mon – Sat)10:00 to 21:00 (In Oct. until 21:50) (Sun) 9:30 – 21:00

Frante Fujimidai
Nearest station/landmark: Heiwa Koen (Heiwa Park)
Business hours: (Mon – Sat)10:00 to 21:00 (Sun) 9:30 – 21:00

Frante Kakuozan
Nearest station/landmark: Kakuozan Station (Higashiyama Subway Line)
Business hours: Open daily from 9:30 to 23:00

Frante Shirakabe
Nearest station/landmark: Higashi Post Office
Business hours: Open daily from 9:30 to 23:00