Overseas expansion

Soy Sauce Business
The History of Kikkoman Soy Sauce’s Overseas Expansion

With eight overseas production plants, Kikkoman Soy Sauce is currently used in more than 100 countries around the world.
Believing that soy sauce could become a seasoning loved worldwide, it was the confidence and pride in our company’s soy sauce that propelled Kikkoman’s overseas expansion.
When introducing Kikkoman Soy Sauce overseas, rather than as an authentic Japanese seasoning, we have encouraged the use of soy sauce with local ingredients and in local cuisine. In order to have soy sauce widely used, we believed it was important to promote the fact that it goes well with any ingredient and in any cuisine, and to fuse soy sauce with the local food culture.
In 1957, we established a sales and marketing company in San Francisco to earnestly enter the U.S. market. Fifty years have passed since then, and now soy sauce is a staple seasoning in almost half of U.S. households, and “Kikkoman” is synonymous with soy sauce.

Soy Sauce’s Appetizing Aroma

Soy sauce’s popularity thereafter spread rapidly, driven by a strategy of stressing how well it complements meat dishes. First, we carried out in-store sampling of grilled meat seasoned with Kikkoman Soy Sauce in supermarkets. At the same time, we developed recipes and used newspapers, magazines and other media to promote the use of soy sauces in daily cooking.
As a result of proactive promotion employing the catchphrase “Delicious on Meat”, Kikkoman Soy Sauce became known as a seasoning that goes well with meat dishes. To make the coupling of meat with soy sauce even easier “teriyaki sauce” was developed. A sauce that continues to be highly popular since sales began in 1961, the word “teriyaki” has been added to Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries.

The Brand Slogan born in America: ALL-PURPOSE SEASONING

In 1956, a newspaper advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle included the introduction “Kikkoman, All-Purpose Seasoning”. Thereafter we included this phrase on all Kikkoman Soy Sauce labels. Soy sauce is a seasoning that goes well with all kinds of ingredients and cuisines. Born in America over half a century ago, this famous brand slogan was symbolic of the global Kikkoman that we have become today.

Producing Locally

Steady and proactive marketing activities resulted in the gradual penetration of soy sauce into American food culture. With increased consumption, the supply system also grew from exporting products from Japan to exporting product by shipping container from Japan and bottling locally, and then finally to producing locally.
We established our first overseas production plant in Walworth, Wisconsin, the American Midwest. In 1973, we shipped our first “Made in the U.S.A.” soy sauce, sixteen years after we established our sales and marketing company in the U.S.
Behind the success of local production is Kikkoman’s overseas management approach, which is to localize management and be a good corporate citizen in the community. When establishing a production plant, we aim to grow and prosper alongside the local community, actively develop business ties with local companies and hire employees locally. Our Japanese employees also interact with the local community and strive to be good citizens. We produce soy sauce using technology from Japan and the strength of the local community. Kikkoman’s goal of becoming a “truly global seasoning” means permanence cultivated on the foundation of this localization of management.
In 1998, Kikkoman opened a second production plant in the U.S., this time in California, and the shipment volume of our soy sauce continues to grow. While fusing with the local food culture we create new value to contribute to the lives of people worldwide. The dream that Kikkoman had more than half a century ago has become a reality in North America.

The Second Largest Growth Market: Europe

After the U.S., Europe is showing the second highest market growth. Kikkoman’s advancement into the European market began in 1973, with its opening of a teppanyaki restaurant, DAITOKAI, in Dusseldorf, Germany. Meat, seafood and vegetables were cooked and seasoned with Kikkoman Soy Sauce in front of the guests for the purpose of showing how well soy sauce goes with meat and local ingredients, and enjoying soy sauce with the five senses. Here, the in-store demonstration model that led to success in the U.S., was adapted in the form of a restaurant.
Thereafter as well, together with introducing Japanese cuisine, we have been proposing uses of and recipes using soy sauce in each country and continuing to expand on new possibilities for soy sauce.
Europe has a long history, and diverse food cultures coexist in each country and region. Local communities feel a strong attachment to and preference for their own food culture and are cautious about accepting new tastes from overseas. However, with recent increased health-consciousness and interest in Japanese food, many top European chefs have started to use soy sauce, and its presence in this market is increasing.
In 1997, we completed the first production plant in Europe. Located in the Netherlands, it is a base for production and distribution to all of Europe. In recent years shipping volumes to Eastern Europe and the Middle East have also increased, and we strongly believe that Kikkoman Soy Sauce is becoming recognized as a global seasoning.

Hidden Growth Potential: Asia

After Europe, growth of the Asian market is anticipated.
In 1983, we established Kikkoman (S) Pte Ltd in Singapore to export to Southeast Asia and Oceania. The following year our Singapore Plant began operation and Kikkoman’s technology made it possible to brew soy sauce in a much hotter and more humid place than Japan. At each production base worldwide, we produce soy sauce that meets Kikkoman’s strict quality standards, a fact we are proud of and believe to be our mission.
In 1990, President Kikkoman Inc. was established in Taiwan through merger with Taiwan’s largest food company, Uni-President Enterprises Corporation. In 2000, we established Kunshan President Kikkoman Biotechnology Co., Ltd. with the same company outside of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province near Shanghai and began shipping products from 2002.
.In 2008, to begin full-scale entry into the Beijing and Tianjin markets, Kikkoman entered into a joint venture with Shijiazhuang Zhenji Brewing Group Co., Ltd., the largest soy sauce and vinegar manufacturer in Northern China, to establish President Kikkoman Zhenji Foods Co., Ltd. in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. In 2009, Uni-President Enterprises Corporation also joined the venture and we began shipping products. Thereafter in 2014, we established the sales office Kikkoman Shanghai Trading Co., Ltd. in Shanghai to strengthen our sales activities. In Asia as well, Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce is trusted and chosen as a very high quality seasoning.

Anticipated Future Development: South America

Kikkoman has been importing our soy sauce and other products produced in the U.S. and Singapore for sale in South American. Especially in Brazil, the largest economy in South America, the taste of locally produced Brazilian-style soy sauce was mainstream, making the barrier to market entry high, and we struggled to increase our presence for a long time. However, to move forward with development of seasonings suited to local preferences, we began outsourced production and sales of Kikkoman Brand soy sauce related products from 2018. Then in March of 2020, we established the wholly-owned subsidiary “Kikkoman Brasil”, and earnestly entered the Brazilian market. We began shipping Kikkoman Soy Sauce produced at our Brazil production plant from November of 2021, and anticipate further development of our South American business through penetration of the Kikkoman Brand in this market.

Becoming a Truly Global Seasoning

Beginning with a full-scale entry into the U.S. market in the 1950s, Kikkoman’s globalization earnestly expanded thereafter into Europe in the 1970s, Asia in the 1980s and more recently into South America.
When considering the reasons why Kikkoman Soy Sauce is used by so many people worldwide, we must not forget the features of “Honjozo” (traditionally-brewed) soy sauce itself. This type of soy sauce imparts its characteristic aroma and flavor to all ingredients making them more delicious. This refined yet deep flavor is unique to “Honjozo” soy sauce.
While respecting the lifestyles and food cultures of people in all regions throughout the world, Kikkoman will continue to convey the many appealing characteristics of traditionally-brewed soy sauce.
In order to make soy sauce a truly global seasoning and to fill the world with delicious smiles, Kikkoman will continue to expand globally.

Asian Food Wholesale Business
Bringing Japanese Food to the World's Tables:

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, it 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 deliver safe, high-quality products to consumers and businesses around the world.

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