Kikkoman is the world’s leading soy sauce manufacturer. Apart from soy sauce, it also manufactures and distributes vegetable juices, brown rice, and enzyme luciferase. The company also has restaurants in Tokyo.
The history of Kikkoman traces back to the 17th century, when families in Tokyo started producing soy sauce from soy beans that were cultivated on their farms. The Japanese soy sauce reached Netherlands when the Dutch people started buying them on their visits to Japan. In the 20th century, the number of soy sauce manufacturing companies increased, but demand decreased. So, eight families decided to join together. Thus, Kikkoman was born in 1917.
The high quality of the product made by the company paved the way to its success. In the beginning, the distribution of soy sauce was limited to Japan. During the 1920s, the company started to produce different varieties of soy sauce for fish, meat, chicken, and noodles. The demand of soy sauce decreased during World War II, and it affected the company’s profits. By 1940, the business returned to normal. It also expanded its distribution to Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Korea. It also reached the U.S. shortly after.
Kikkoman International was formed in 1957 to manage the international market of the company. When the soy sauce became popular, it introduced other products such as tofu and teriyaki sauce. Tone Coca-Cola Bottling Company Ltd. was formed in 1962 in Tokyo. It also reached an agreement with Del Monte to market its products in Japan. Mann’s Wine Company was formed in 1964. The first manufacturing plant in the U.S. was opened in Walworth, Wisconsin. It also opened new restaurants under the name Kikkoman Daitokai GmbH. In 1974, it also created the Colza restaurant chain.
The company expanded its business to Europe in the 1980s. More subsidiaries were also created in different countries to manage the international business. A second U.S. plant was opened in Folsom, California in 1997. Another production facility was also built in the Netherlands. In 2000, a pharmaceutical company was opened in China. In 2002, three manufacturing plants of the company received ISO 14001 certification. It also celebrated its 50th anniversary of its U.S. division in June 2007. In 2008, it changed its logo, and also introduced a new slogan, “Seasoning your Life.”
Company headquarters: 250 Noda, Chiba, Japan
Annual revenue: $2.8 billion
Number of employees: 2,640
Geography: North America, Japan, Oceania, Asia, Europe, Latin America
Demography: Young, Natural and Organic