“A better way to buy and enjoy saffron and saffron-based products”
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.
Peerless quality • Ethically produced • Sustainably Made in Japan
MISSION AND VALUES
Akaito is rejuvenating the Japanese saffron industry for local farming families and their communities by giving people of good conscience a better way to buy and enjoy saffron and saffron-based products.
We combine the art and wisdom of 300 years of Japanese saffron farming with 21st Century know-how to produce saffron and saffron-based products that are of peerless quality, ethically produced, and sustainably Made in Japan.
Saffron is called “Red Gold” by its producers and traders. But there is nothing golden about the story of most of the world's saffron.
In UN-sanctioned countries—the source of over 90% of the global saffron supply—male overseers exploit children and women to harvest saffron flowers by backbreaking field work under unethical, unsustainable Bronze-age methods. Layers of profiteering middlemen then add their outrageous margins to the processed saffron. The result: saffron sold in otherwise reputable high-street stores and restaurants, and in saffron-based products, costs more per gram than gold. Saffron is a hard currency. And unknowing consumers are funding this system.
We give people of good conscience a better way to buy and enjoy saffron and saffron-based products.
The story of Akaito starts with our Japanese culture—a 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 quality. Akaito is a 21st Century agrotech with the art and wisdom of 300 years of Japanese saffron farming at its core.
This is why Akaito Saffron® greatly exceeds the ISO 3632 Grade I Saffron Standard—the highest standard of saffron in the world—and without resorting to Bronze-age 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 and sustainably Made in Japan. Akaito has made saffron known for what it truly is: the noble spice that is central to the senses for everyone to enjoy—not a currency called Red Gold. .
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.”
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.