How we became who we are
Kikkoman’s history dates back to the 17th century, when the forefathers of the Mogi family began to produce the dark brown seasoning sauce from soy, wheat, water and salt in the Japanese town of Noda.
The city's optimum location on the banks of the River Edo provided convenient access to raw materials and prompt deliveries to the expanding city of Edo, which is today called Tokyo. Dutch traders then discovered the “black gold” and brought it to Europe. Kikkoman soon became firmly established in the European market, where it received important awards at Expo Vienna in 1873 and Expo Amsterdam in 1883.
It was only after the Second World War, however, that Kikkoman’s business abroad expanded significantly. Following the war, occupation forces, journalists and other foreigners resided in Japan. Seeing that they were becoming familiar with Japanese cuisine and its use of soy sauce, Kikkoman saw great potential in overseas expansion.
In 1957 Kikkoman opened its first overseas sales base in San Francisco, USA. To meet steadily increasing demand, Kikkoman then built its first overseas production plant in the United States in 1972. Following its success in the U.S. market, Kikkoman began to establish production and sales networks throughout the world.
Welcome to Europe
In 1973, Kikkoman established itself in Europe, choosing Düsseldorf, Germany, where it opened a Japanese restaurant. Here, customers could see their food being cooked in front of them, smell and taste how well soy sauce goes with meat and local foods and ingredients and learn how to use soy sauce at home. Sales were actively promoted, as in the U.S., through in-store sampling and suggesting recipes with soy sauce, and the resulting growth in sales was primarily driven by demand in Germany.
Through numerous tastings in food retail, the distribution of Kikkoman in Germany and across Europe increased. Since then, the collection of recipes with Japanese soy sauce has constantly expanded and adapted to current food trends and diets such as gluten-free or vegan.
In October 1997 Kikkoman opened the first European Kikkoman production facility in Hoogezand-Sappemeer, the Netherlands, to meet increasing demand for soy sauce in Europe. This production facility still manufactures Kikkoman sauces for the entire European market.