Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. have exchanged a memorandum of understanding on technological participation by Toyo Suisan in the frozen noodle business of Ajinomoto Co. in North America.
Under the agreement, the companies will establish a frozen noodle production company through a joint venture (JC) with investments of 80% from Ajinomoto Co. and 20% from Toyo Suisan.
Sales will be handled by Ajinomoto North America, Inc. (AJINA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co. that operates the consumer food business in North America.
These measures will strengthen the technological side of the frozen noodle business of Ajinomoto Co., which is a growth driver of the company’s steadily expanding frozen food business in North America.
Since the establishment of Ajinomoto Frozen Foods USA., Inc. in 2000, the frozen food business of Ajinomoto Co. in North America has been steadily expanding (net sales estimate of JPY 10.0 billion [$0.1 billion] in fiscal 2013).
Among its products, frozen noodles (chow mein) have contributed to business expansion since their launch in 2007.
The frozen noodle market in the US has grown to JPY 15.0 billion in fiscal 2012 (an 18% increase from the previous fiscal year; Ajinomoto Co. survey).
With a forecast of further market expansion backed by the increasing number of ramen shops, Ajinomoto Co. has been considering strengthening its competitiveness on the technological side.
In addition, in April 2013 Ajinomoto Co. established a structure to further strengthen and expand the consumer food business in North America by integrating the operations of the shelf stable business, which centers on seasonings, and the frozen food business.
On the other hand, Toyo Suisan has manufactured and sold frozen noodles since 1984, and in the process has improved its technological capability for noodle manufacturing in the field of frozen foods.
With this agreement, Ajinomoto Co. will use the strength of Toyo Suisan in noodle production technology to lead the frozen noodle market by introducing ramen and other new products in addition to chow mein, thus accelerating expansion of its frozen food business in North America.