It was after World War II that Kikkoman began exporting in earnest. Seeing how Americans stationed in Japan had grown to love the taste of its soy sauce, Kikkoman, convinced that soy sauce had the potential to appeal to the whole world’s palate, established a marketing company in San Francisco in 1957 in order to fully break into the U.S. market.
Soy sauce’s popularity there spread rapidly, driven by a strategy of stressing how well it complements meat dishes. Employing the catchphrase “Delicious on Meat”, Kikkoman Soy Sauce was promoted through in-store sampling and demonstrations and via newspapers, magazines and other media. Out of this union of soy sauce and meat came teriyaki sauce. This remains highly popular to this day, and the word “teriyaki” even now appears in the dictionary.
Production in the U.S. began in 1973 at a plant in Wisconsin launched to combine Japanese technology with local strengths. The Kikkoman approach is to localize management and be a good corporate citizen in its host markets. Seeking to grow and prosper alongside local communities, Kikkoman has actively sought to develop business ties with local firms and hire employees locally.
In 1998, Kikkoman opened a second plant in the U.S, this time in California. Our products are now steadily becoming an integral part of local food culture, generating new value and making the name “Kikkoman” a byword for soy sauce. Products such as functional foods and flour are also sold under the Kikkoman brand name, which has established itself as a mark of fine quality and dependability.
In 1973, Kikkoman opened a Japanese restaurant in Dusseldorf, Germany. Here, customers could see their food being cooked in front of them, smell and taste how well soy sauce goes with meat and local foods and ingredients, and learn how to use soy sauce at home. As in the U.S., sales were actively promoted through in-store sampling and by suggesting recipes for using soy sauce. Increasing demand led Kikkoman to begin producing soy sauce in the Netherlands in 1997.
Attitudes to food and cooking needs vary widely in Europe, where a diversity of national and regional cuisines have long existed side by side and people are especially attached to their own particular food cultures. Our marketing activities in the region have therefore focused on promoting Kikkoman Soy Sauce in line with a single unifying concept. This is “+k”, which is designed to highlight the fresh new tastes that can be created by adding Kikkoman Soy Sauce to the cuisine of each country.
Kikkoman’s focus on the Asia and Oceania regions began with Australia, where we established a marketing company in 1980, employing the same business model as in the U.S. of promoting soy sauce by showing how well it goes with meat dishes. In 1983, we established our second overseas production base in Singapore to supply products to Southeast Asia and Oceania, and the plant entered operation the following year. What made it possible to produce Kikkoman Soy Sauce of the same high quality as in Japan in a location that was much hotter and more humid was the dependable fermentation technology that had evolved out of long years of history and tradition.
In 1990, Kikkoman formed a joint venture with the Uni-President Enterprises Group, Taiwan’s largest food manufacturer, to establish President Kikkoman Inc. in Taiwan. The partnership with the group continued with the formation of Kunshan President Kikkoman Biotechnology Co., Ltd. on the outskirts of Shanghai to develop a presence in China, followed in 2008 by the establishment of President Kikkoman Zhenji Foods Co., Ltd. to move into the Beijing and Tianjin markets in earnest. In 2014, Kikkoman Shanghai Trading Co., Ltd. was established, which allowed more effective activities in China to further familiarize consumers with Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
Oriental Food Wholesale
The popularity of tasty, healthy Japanese food has boomed in recent years, thanks in no small part to Kikkoman’s oriental food wholesale business. Established to complement the soy sauce business, this has acted to promote Japanese food and Japanese culture.
Recognizing the synergies to be gained from advertising the allure of soy sauce and popularizing Japanese dietary culture, Kikkoman entered the oriental (especially Japanese) food wholesale business by acquiring a management stake in Japan Foods Corp. (now JFC International, Inc.) in the U.S. in 1969.
JFC International handles a wide variety of food products, including everything from fishery and agricultural products such as rice to processed foods, alcoholic beverages, ice cream and frozen foods (as well as soy sauce, of course), helping to further boost the spread of Japanese food.
The JFC Group has expanded into all regions of the world. With Japanese food now widely enjoyed for its healthiness as well as its tastiness, we remain committed to continuing to deliver safe, high-quality products to consumers and businesses around the world.