MISSION & ESG

MISSION & ESG

MISSION & ESG

AKAITO ESG

Every stigma of Akaito Japanese Saffron® is made only in Japan, directly under our control and by our own hands.

ETHOS

For 300 years,
Japan has kept a secret.

We took knowledge from the cradle of civilization and blended it with our culture.

A culture of craftsmanship,
innovation,
and fastidious care
that is unmatched in the world.

We now blend our culture with yours.


Akaito Japanese Saffron® Peerless Quality • Ethically Produced • Made in Japan Naturally and Sustainably

ETHOS

For 300 years,
Japan has kept a secret.

We took knowledge from the cradle of civilization and blended it with our culture.

A culture of craftsmanship,
innovation,
and fastidious care
that is unmatched in the world.

We now blend our culture with yours.


Akaito Japanese Saffron® Peerless Quality • Ethically Produced • Made in Japan Naturally and Sustainably

A BETTER WAY TO BUY AND ENJOY SAFFRON AND SAFFRON-BASED PRODUCTS

Saffron is called “Red Gold” by its producers and traders. But there is nothing golden in the story of most of the world's saffron.
Farm overseers exploit children and women to pick saffron: backbreaking work under horrendous conditions. Layers of profiteering middlemen then add their own outrageous margins. The result: saffron sold in otherwise reputable high-street stores, restaurants, and grocery stores costs more per gram than gold. Exploited children and women—and consumers—pay the price for this system.


Enter Akaito

We give people of good conscience new options to buy and enjoy saffron and saffron-based products.

The story of Akaito starts with our Japanese culture of craftsmanship, innovation, and fastidious care that is unsurpassed in the world. We work hard to put the power of saffron in your hands in the way that only Japan can do: by combining the master craftsman’s art with state-of-the-art R&D, proprietary cultivation methods, and peerless production quality. Akaito is a 21st Century agtech with the art and wisdom of 300 years of Japanese saffron farming at its core.

This is why Akaito SaffronR exceeds the ISO 3632 Grade I Saffron Standard the highest standard of saffron in the world and without having resorted to Bronze-age production methods that squeeze profit from children and women.

At Akaito, we create luxury and life sciences products from saffron of peerless quality that is ethically produced. Akaito has made saffron known for what it truly is: the noble spice that is central to the senses for everyone to enjoy not the commodity called “Red Gold.”

Akaito, Limited

Emma Chizuko Suzuki, Co-founder
Mark Lee Ford, Co-founder

We give people of good conscience new options to buy and enjoy saffron and saffron-based products.

The story of Akaito starts with our Japanese culture of craftsmanship, innovation, and fastidious care that is unsurpassed in the world. We work hard to put the power of saffron in your hands in the way that only Japan can do: by combining the master craftsman’s art with state-of-the-art R&D, proprietary cultivation methods, and peerless production quality. Akaito is a 21st Century agtech with the art and wisdom of 300 years of Japanese saffron farming at its core.

This is why Akaito SaffronR exceeds the ISO 3632 Grade I Saffron Standard the highest standard of saffron in the world and without having resorted to Bronze-age production methods that squeeze profit from children and women.

At Akaito, we create luxury and life sciences products from saffron of peerless quality that is ethically produced. Akaito has made saffron known for what it truly is: the noble spice that is central to the senses for everyone to enjoy not the commodity called “Red Gold.”

Akaito, Limited

Emma Chizuko Suzuki, Co-founder
Mark Lee Ford, Co-founder

NO EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN

Saffron should give plenty of people indigestion.

Whether you are enjoying it in a top-notch meal at a three star restaurant, buying it from a brand name emporium or grocery store, or using it in a saffron-based product, you probably do not know that exploited children and women are paying the true price for your saffron.

Saffron is hard currency.

In the saffron fields of Iran, Afghanistan, and India, children and women pick saffron flowers for interminably long hours in the bitter cold: backbreaking work done in poverty and hunger under male overseers. In Iran, which produces over 90% of the world's saffron, criminal organizations and middlemen (including agricultural cooperatives, government agencies, and trading companies) control the saffron supply, adulterate it, and grossly inflate the price over what they pay the children and women.

Thereafter—on an industrial scale—money laundering operations pass Iranian saffron through Spain (which buys 50% of Iran's exported saffron), Hong Kong (16%) and China (1.65%), UAE (15%), and Afghanistan (3%) in exchange for cash flow back to Iran. And most of the saffron imported by the US is  “from” Spain. The price of saffron has jumped since the Iran sanctions began, and profits have never been higher. Unscrupulous producers have doubled-down on their Bronze-age methods. Children and women are paying the price—and so are you.

That is how a commodity was turned into the most expensive spice in the world: “Red Gold,” as its purveyors boast. But there is nothing golden about that sort of saffron to Akaito and our customers. To us, Red Gold is equivalent to “Harvest of Shame.”

Thereafter—on an industrial scale—money laundering operations pass Iranian saffron through Spain (which buys 50% of Iran's exported saffron), Hong Kong (16%) and China (1.65%), UAE (15%), and Afghanistan (3%) in exchange for cash flow back to Iran. And most of the saffron imported by the US is  “from” Spain. The price of saffron has jumped since the Iran sanctions began, and profits have never been higher. Unscrupulous producers have doubled-down on their Bronze-age methods. Children and women are paying the price—and so are you.

That is how a commodity was turned into the most expensive spice in the world: “Red Gold,” as its purveyors boast. But there is nothing golden about that sort of saffron to Akaito and our customers. To us, Red Gold is equivalent to “Harvest of Shame.”

Akaito resolutely denounces and rejects the exploitation of children and women, as well as those who knowingly use or sell commodity saffron—the so-called “Red Gold”—in their restaurants, stores, or other businesses.

By contrast, every stigma of Akaito Saffron® is made only in Japan, directly under our meticulous control and by our own hands. When you consume Akaito Saffron®, you can be sure that it is produced unequivocally without the exploitation of children and women (or anyone, for that matter), adulteration, or the involvement of middlemen, the mob, or terrorist states. At Akaito, we keep our noses clean and our saffron quality peerless.

So the next time you are about to order an haute cuisine dish featuring saffron at a high end restaurant, ask the waiter or chef to tell you the provenance of their saffron. If you are not satisfied with their answer, order something else.

Always look for the Akaito mark or "Made with Akaito Saffron®” on the menu.

Akaito is making saffron known for what it truly is: the noble spice that is central to the senses for everyone to enjoy—not the commodity called “Red Gold.”

News archive about crimes involving saffron:

2022

2022.4.23 "Focus on auditors, certificate fraud and science at GFSI conference," Food Safety News, by Joe Whitworth.
2022.4.12 "Saffron and olive oil fraud discovered in Spain," Food Safety News.
2022.4.3 "Eleven arrested in €3m scam selling gardenia disguised as saffron," EuroWeekly, by Chris King.
2022.3 "Botanical Adulterants Prevention Bulletin on Saffron and Saffron Extracts," Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program.
2022.2.6 "Saffron Fraud (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know)," Food Fraud Advisors.
2022.1.30 "Why Fake Saffron Trafficking Is Destroying The 'Red Gold' Industry," Business Insider.

2021

2021.5.12 "Gang Made Millions Selling Fake Saffron as High-Quality Product," Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, by Julett Pineda Sleinan.
2021.5.12 "'Fake Saffron' Gang Busted for Selling the World's Most Expensive Spice," Vice, by Mitchvell Prothero.
2021.5.7 "Spain cracks down on saffron crime ring, arresting 17 in raid," The Washington Post, by Nia Noori Farzan.
2021.5.7 "Saffron gang accused of passing off Iranian spice as prized Spanish variety," The Guardian, by Sam Jones.
2021.5.7 "A Spice Worth Its Weight in Gold: A Multi-million Euros Fake Saffron Trafficking Scheme Uncovered," EUROPOL Press release.

2020

2020.7.23 "Vast International Operation Seizes Counterfeit Food & Beverages," Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, by Sandrine Gagné-Acoulon.
2020.5.19 "Saffron: illegal trafficking spells disaster," Mundus Agri.

2019

2019.11.12 "US sanctions fail to disrupt Iran saffron trade," TNT World.
2019.11.10 "1.82 kilos of gold, 26.5 kilos of saffron seized by customs at Chennai airport," The News Minute.
2019.8.6 "Sussex Fake Saffron Discovery Leads to £750,000 Haul," BBC News.
2019.5.3 "Customs seizes 8 kg of high grade saffron at airport," The Hindu.

2017

2017.9.25 "Passenger with contraband worth Rs 20 lakh held at Jaipur airport," The Times of India.
2017.9.13 "The Problem for the World's Most Expensive Spice," BBC News, by Lucy Hooker.
2017.3.16 "Mumbai International Airport: Air Intelligence Unit nabs 17 with Rs 4 crore contraband in 5 days," The Indian Express.

2016

2016.12.27 "Saffron Sector Thrives on Cheap Women Labor," Financial Tribune.

2015

2015.12.30 "A New Chapter for Saffron," New York Times, by Elaine Sciolino.
2015.8. 5 "What will happen to Iran’s ultra-rare ‘red gold?’," Fortune, by Michal Addady.
2015.7.29 "How the Saffron Trade Helps Criminals Smuggle Wealth Out of Iran," Eater, by Whitney Filloon.
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