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Three decades of brewing healthy and cool delights

By Conrad Becker
- Mar 27, 2014
Credit : GMI Post

Maeda-en President Taku H. Maeda

While green tea has been a very common drink with a centuries-old history in Japan, the brewed beverage has gained popularity in the United States only in the last decade, thanks mainly to several studies noting its many health benefits.

When Taku H. Maeda came to Dallas, Texas in 1984, the Japanese entrepreneur had one mission: to make his country’s beloved green tea popular among Americans.

After moving to Irvine, California five years later, Maeda-en became the first major importer of Japanese green tea in the United States.

Committed to delivering only high quality products, Maeda-en imports only green tea from Japan, widely considered the best in its class.

Thirty years after arriving in the United States, the company has expanded its business to Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.

In 1993, Maeda-en introduced green tea ice cream, and followed that up with “mochi” ice cream (a Japanese-style rice cake filled with ice cream).

Both products have become highly sought after and the company has begun producing them in Australia.

Not content with offering 50 different green tea products, and 30 different green tea ice cream and “mochi” ice cream products, Maeda-en remains focused on its goal of developing more delicious goods to sell around the world.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Los Angeles 2014 (Credit: Conrad Becker)  

Morinaga Nutritional Foods

Morinaga offers healthy options

By Philippe Le Saux
- Mar 27, 2014
Credit : GMI Post

Morinaga Nutritional Foods offer five varieties of its highly popular silken style tofu.

When Morinaga developed aseptic packaging for its tofu product nearly three decades ago, the Japanese food giant was able to extend the shelf life of its silken style tofu to one year and allow for its refrigeration free transport. With this break through packaging, the food giant acquired the benefit of being able to export its sought after silken style tofu.

Thus was born Morinaga Nutritional Foods in Torrance, California in 1985. Later, to address the growing demand for its silken style tofu across the United States, Mori Nu opened a state- of-the-art production facility in Oregon in 1997.

“Our soy beans are from Ohio, so we produce everything here in the United States,” explained President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroyuki Imanishi. “Our product is very different from the more common water packed tofu. In the United States, there are about 130 tofu manufacturers, but we are the only one that Morinaga offers healthy options uses aseptic packaging. We also have a new line, which uses a different coagulant and is much more traditional.”

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved claims that the likelihood of heart disease is reduced with a daily intake of soy protein, Mori Nu’s sales climbed steadily. Half of the total sales come from Asian communities in the U.S., while the remainder is equally divided between non Asian consumers and the export market, with Europe being the largest.

In the future, Imanishi will focus on developing more business within the U.S. and other export markets, particularly in Central and South America.

“We want to make people more aware of the positive benefits of our packaging. For instance, with our packaging there is no space for water to be released from the tofu despite the extended shelf life, which makes our tofu fresher,” said Imanishi.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Los Angeles 2014 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux)


Mutual Trading Co.

Bringing sushi to America, a peaceful offering to the world

Mar 27, 2014
Credit : GMI Post

Mutual Trading Co., Inc. Chairman Noritoshi Kanai

Bringing peace through culinary culture,” has long been the vision of Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading Co., Inc.

Tracing its origins to Los Angeles back to 1926, Mutual Trading began as a coop supplying Japanese food to a handful of grocery stores in the city’s Little Tokyo.

Nearly 90 years later, the company can claim to have introduced to the United States in 1964 what was once considered the pinnacle of exotic cuisine, “edomae” sushi, at Kawafuku Restaurant, the first sushi bar outside of Japan.

Now very mainstream and offered by more than 21,000 Japanese restaurants across the country, “edomae” sushi continues to grow in popularity domestically and internationally, bringing great culinary joy around the world.“

“I’m now 90 years old. I still think of Japanese food and its growing future as a nutritious, delicious and a culturally exciting food for the world to enjoy. It won’t ever disappear,” Kanai said confidently.

Today, Mutual Trading is known as a global ambassador of Japanese food. It’s that passion for authentic Japanese has made the company the premier distributor of Japanese food and alcoholic beverages in America.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Los Angeles 2014 (Credit: Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles 2014 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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