Soy Sauce Industry and Kikoman

Topics: Soy sauce, Japanese cuisine, Lee Kum Kee Pages: 5 (1841 words) Published: May 11, 2008
Soy Sauce Industry

Brief History of Soy Sauce and Kikkoman
According to the Kikkoman Case, Soy sauce was first discovered in China around 500s B.C. Then a Japanese priest who was in China, came across soy sauce and brought it back to Japan. The roots of soy sauce in Japan originated in the 16th Century. In the mid 17th Century, two of Japanese families, Mogi and Takanashi began brewing soy sauce in Noda, where good soy beans, wheat and salt were available, originating the root of current Kikkoman Corporation. The soy sauce was exported abroad during the 19th Century accompanying emigrating workers from Japan. In 1907, Kikkoman built a soy sauce brewing plant in Denver, Colorado mainly targeting the Japanese immigrants the US, who already accumulated to a hundred thousand.

Rising interest in Japanese food in Western Market and Kikkoman’s move to international market
The influence of Japan can be seen everywhere, from fashion and interior design to the chopsticks and sake. As we are living in a world that everything seems to move fast. We’re pressed to work longer now than any generation before us, to work faster to keep up with the Internet, and our lives have become hectic, filled with the urgent demands of contemporary life. So people seek to bring clam and simplicity into their everyday lives. This is why more people in the West are drawn to things Japanese. Japanese cuisine is popular because it gives people a chance to experience the relaxed, lucid culture. Another reason is globalization. Globalization allows people to travel more frequently; this reduces language and cultural barriers. When people travel to one place, they tend to bring in something originated from their home town and in this case of course, Japanese Food which its main ingredient contains soy sauce.

Kikkoman had foreseen the opportunities of upcoming Japanese food trend in the western market. In additional, the Japanese soy sauce market was already saturated, Kikkoman had to find a new market to expand its customer base. The US market is the first place of their interest.

In the early stage of introducing its product to US market, the company had to put a lot of effort to create and increase demand for soy sauce since some parts of the countries did not know the product and the use of it, while other parts did not like the taste including those who were against the Asian products. Kikkoman cleverly entered the market by putting the words “all-purpose seasoning” on the label, this showed that Kikkoman has moved soy sauce from the realm of a strictly Oriental condiment to an international seasoning. The strategies used by Kikkoman were successful. Kikkoman’s North American sales have grown more than 30 times in the past 30 years for all 20 products it sells in the United States.

The Soy Sauce Global Market and Kikkoman
The global economy was affected by an increasing sense of uncertainty. Stock prices fell due to the economic downturn in the U.S. and a crisis of corporate accounting practices. Tension in Iraq also served to further dampen the generally gloomy economic mood. Generally, though, the economy was characterized by falling capital expenditures and continued weakness in consumer spending. This leads to a lower growth in food and beverage industry around the world, even though the number shows the higher growth from years to years but it has been steady. In the food and beverage industry, the pace of corporate realignment and integration quicken, making the operating environment even more challenging. There are new competitors coming into the soy sauce market from time to time, this has increased the level of competitiveness in the market and also threat to the existing suppliers. There are also stronger demands from consumers for better food safety, proper labeling and ingredient traceability. This trend has urged the soy sauce producers to put more effort in research and development department in order to produce...
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