Kikkoman opens research lab for flavor and functionality

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Research, Research and development, Nutrition

The soy sauce company Kikkoman has partnered with food science researchers to establish an R&D center to help develop new health products and ingredients for the American market.

The Japanese company’s new research and development laboratory in the research park of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will focus on the flavor, functionality and fortification of food products.

It follows a similar move this time last year when Kikkoman set-up a new R&D laboratory in The Netherlands' renowned Food Valley. The aim was to glean a greater understanding of European consumer preferences and develop products to meet them.

The sale of Kikkoman products to other food manufacturers accounts for approximately 30 percent of its total sales.

Primarily the research will be for Kikkoman and its customers but the spokesman said that if discoveries are made that are patentable or can be copyrighted, they may be licensed for use outside of its operations and its customers.

A spokesman told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “The trends in the US market we are looking at are healthy foods with excellent flavors and palatability.

“The challenges are to find or change food products that are more healthy and nutritious.”

“The research center will be used primarily to develop products/ingredients for the US market. However, if any of the discoveries from this research are applicable or useful in other markets, these products could be expanded for use there.

“The specific ingredients we will be researching will be determined after we consult with our professorial and faculty experts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The R&D facility will occupy a wet laboratory suite in the non-profit University Research Park’s MGE Innovation Center. The park is home to more than 100 companies that employ over 4,000 people.

Kikkoman chairman and CEO, Yuzaburo Mogi, said: “By working together with food science researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the country’s premier academic research institutions, we expect to develop exciting new products that will allow Kikkoman to better serve customers in the United States, our most important international market.”

Kikkoman opened its soy sauce production facility in Walworth, Wisconsin, 35 years ago, which at the time was the company’s first facility outside of Japan.

Now Kikkoman Corporation operates six production facilities outside of Japan from which it distributes its products all over the world. It employs more than 7,400 people across the globe.

The Kikkoman Group includes affiliations with Del Monte, Manns Wine Co and JFC International.

Related topics: Flavors and colors, Suppliers

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