Nikken Foods USA has opened a new, larger site in St Louis, Missouri, claiming to have outgrown its current premises due to increased demand for its natural savory flavors and soy powders.
The trend for natural food ingredients continues to grow as manufacturers respond to consumer demand for natural products. ‘Natural’ was the top product claim category for new foods and beverages launched in 2009, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, applying to 23 percent of new product launches.
Nikken Foods USA’s executive vice president Herb Bench said: “The new larger distribution center and USA corporate offices will accommodate our growing customer demand for our products.”
He told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the company’s product portfolio taps into a number of key trends for food manufacturers in the United States, including interest in natural products and in reduced-salt, umami-building products.
“Product developers and chefs are looking to enhance products with umami characteristics,” Bench said, “A) because they are looking to reduce salt and b) because we have an older population who like umami flavor.”
The company said that the new distribution center and office space is 20 percent larger than its current premises, and also includes a new application kitchen, to be used for the company’s ongoing research and development projects.
Bench added that products like the company’s soy and anchovy powders have been steadily increasing in popularity as manufacturers look to reduce the salt content of their products.
Market research organization Mintel has said that sodium reduction is set to be a major trend during 2010 as food manufacturers and health organizations take the lead.
Research has suggested that high-sodium diets could contribute to heart disease, yet the US Department of Agriculture has said that the average American consumes 4,000mg of sodium a day, as opposed to the maximum recommended daily amount of 2,300mg. And it is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of sodium in the average US diet comes from packaged foods.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony at Nikken Foods USA’s new facility involved members of the Nikken Foods board of directors visiting from Japan. The move is planned for the middle of February.