International Food Products

Leveraging the strengths of global product development, production, and sales networks as well as our marketing capabilities and brand power, the Ajinomoto Group offers products and services that contribute to delicious tastes tailored to the eating habits of local consumers, as well as nutritional improvement.

By utilizing local raw materials to create added value, expanding employment opportunities and applying Japanese technologies, the Group will contribute to the evolution of the local food industry. Through these efforts, the Group will continue to realize a harmonious coexistence with local communities and consumers.

Seasonings and Processed Foods

Origin, History, and Development

Following the initial Japanese launch of AJI-NO-MOTO® in 1909, the Ajinomoto Group worked to proactively develop overseas markets, beginning with exports to countries in Asia that share dietary habits with Japan.

We set up offices in various Asian countries from the 1920s onward. We then established overseas subsidiaries in North, Central and South America and Europe, and built a series of local plants starting in Thailand in the 1960s.

We produced AJI-NO-MOTO® using a fermentation method that draws on locally produced raw materials. Currently sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, it is the Group’s flagship global brand.

With the rise in income levels in Southeast Asia and Brazil since the 1980s, consumer demand has turned toward flavor seasonings and processed foods. To address this shift, we developed and rolled out products including flavor seasonings, menu-specific seasonings, instant noodles, soups and powdered drinks with flavors and brand names tailored to each region. We have worked to diversify our businesses, such as becoming the first to develop and sell canned coffee in Thailand in the 1990s.

Today, we are rolling out categories in accordance with the dietary habits and culture of each country or region, mainly in ASEAN and South America, where the scale of sales is large. We are also developing new regions such as Turkey, the Middle East and Africa in cooperation with leading local players.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

In Southeast Asia and South America, the middle-class demographic has expanded as income levels have improved. In tandem with urbanization and changing lifestyles, the market has diversified from traditional market stalls to convenience stores and mass retailers. Other notable changes include rising demand for highly processed products that are easy to prepare, and we are making progress in addressing such demand in each country.

Approach to Product Expansion in the Ajinomoto Group

Frozen Foods

Origin, History, and Development

The business began in the 1970s with the export of frozen foods produced in Japan to the United States.

In the 2000s, the Ajinomoto Group began local production in the United States. We also began sales in Europe of exports from Thailand, which had been producing products for Japan.

In 2014, we acquired Windsor Quality Holdings, LP (currently Ajinomoto Foods North America, Inc.) in the United States and began strengthening local operations. We also established a joint venture with JAWO Sp.z o.o. in Poland and started local production there.

In 2017, we acquired LABEYRIE TRAITEUR SURGELÉS S.A.S. (currently AJINOMOTO FROZEN FOODS FRANCE S.A.S.) in France, and we are currently stepping up development in Europe.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

The Asian frozen food market, of which gyoza and cooked rice dishes are representative, continues to expand rapidly due to factors including the growing popularity of Japanese food and the increase in Japanese-style restaurants in the United States and Europe. Under these circumstances, we are working to expand our business by making full use of our local production and sales networks with the aim of becoming the clear No.1 in the Asian food category.

Umami Seasonings for Processed Food Manufacturers

Origin, History, and Development

With the launch of AJI-NO-MOTO® as a retail product, the Ajinomoto Group also began to supply it in bulk as a raw material for manufacturing soy sauce. Thereafter, the Group worked to expand sales channels for large-scale customers in Japan and began overseas sales in the 1930s in response to demand from U.S. food manufacturers.

Overseas production of AJI-NO-MOTO® began in the 1950s, mainly in Southeast Asia and Central and South America, and bulk exports also grew. Furthermore, bulk products are exported to Ajinomoto Group companies in other countries, where they are packaged and sold as retail products.

In the 1960s, following on from retail products, we began bulk sales of nucleotide seasonings to domestic customers. We later began exports from Japan, and in the 2000s we built a plant in Thailand. We now sell products in more than 100 countries worldwide using the sales channels for AJI-NO-MOTO®.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years (Including Retail Products)

Worldwide demand for monosodium glutamate (MSG) continues to grow, backed by factors such as rising mean income and population growth in emerging countries. Demand is growing steadily in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa.

Demand for nucleotide seasonings is also expected to continue growing due to the expansion of the market for processed foods and a trend toward adding more seasonings to products.

The Ajinomoto Group’s market share for both product categories is one of the world’s largest, and we intend to maintain a dominant market position.

Main competitors

MSG: Vedan Group, CJ Group, Daesang Group, Fufeng Group and other Chinese manufacturers
Nucleotides: CJ Group, Daesang Group, MC Food Specialties Inc., Star Lake Bioscience and other Chinese manufacturers

Sweeteners

Origin, History, and Development

We started the business in the 1980s by utilizing our amino acid manufacturing technology to launch aspartame, an amino acid-based sweetener. In addition to products for industrial customers mainly in major markets in the United States and Europe, this led to the launch of the PAL SWEET® brand as a retail product in Japan.

Currently, we sell aspartame to industrial customers in about 80 countries around the world. The rollout as a retail product has also been in progress since the 1990s in regions including Southeast Asia and South America.

In 2011, we launched our proprietary high-potency sweetener advantame, which is sold in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan and elsewhere.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

The global aspartame market continues to grow due to needs to reduce sweetener costs and rising awareness of calorie intake, including in emerging countries. The Ajinomoto Group will steadily offer global proposals for sweetener solutions.

Main competitors selling aspartame

SinoSweet Co., Ltd., Niutang Chemical Ltd.