Kikkoman Celebrates 50th Anniversary in America
50 years ago, Kikkoman started marketing in the U.S. by opening its first sales and marketing headquarters in San Francisco. This June 4-5, Kikkoman celebrated its 50th anniversary in America by holding various special events there.
"Kikkoman Day" Proclaimed
To kick off events commemorating the company's half-century in the U.S., a press event was held on June 4 at San Francisco City Hall, hosted by West-coast television anchorman Doug McConnell. Mr. McConnell opened the event, which was attended by over 40 journalists, by introducing Yuzaburo Mogi, chairman and CEO of Kikkoman Corporation. Following this, Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, presented Mr. Mogi with an official proclamation from the city of San Francisco, declaring June 5, 2007 as "Kikkoman Day" in San Francisco. Mr. Mogi then spoke about Kikkoman's activities in the U.S. during the last 50 years and expressed his gratitude to the city of San Francisco.
Afterwards, a food tasting was presented by Sean O'Brien, executive chef at Myth, one of the city's best-known restaurants. In tribute of Kikkoman's special anniversary, Mr. O'Brien recreated dishes from the 1950s when Kikkoman first entered the U.S. market, and also served contemporary dishes. Guests sampled and compared both old and new menus with great gusto and were able to get a good sense of the 50-year span and the influence of the soy sauce on American cuisine.
U.S.-Japan Food Distribution Symposium
To further honor this 50th anniversary, the U.S.-Japan Food Distribution Symposium was held on June 5 at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco, attended by about 180 people working in this particular food distribution field. The symposium included two keynote speeches and a panel discussion on the theme, "Changing Consumer Needs and Direction of Food Retail Industry Evolution."
During the morning session of the symposium, Motoshige Itoh, Ph.D., professor, graduate school of economics, University of Tokyo, gave a keynote speech titled, "Japanese Retail Industry in the Current Structurally Changing Environment"; Willard Bishop, Ph.D. and Jim Hertel, both of Willard Bishop, LLC, spoke on "Finding Ways to Better Serve the U.S. Grocery Shopper." Each of these keynote speeches focused on its respective country's marketing point of view, and found common ground in acknowledging the need for understanding both consumer needs and providing added value.
A panel discussion was held in the afternoon, led by six Japanese and U.S. business executives. Although working in disparate areas and business fields, these executives shared their strategies for success and prompted an enthusiastic discussion, punctuated by questions from the audience. The symposium concluded by stressing the need to develop business by discerning the needs of both the market and consumers.