BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese traditional condiment maker Hanamaruki Foods Inc. is selecting Thailand as its global export hub, building its first overseas factory to serve demand mainly from China and Southeast Asia.
Plant construction began early this month to produce liquid-form "shio-koji," a condiment made from fermented rice and salt, in the north of the Thai capital. Sales of the product in 2017 jumped sixfold from the previous year amid growing awareness of healthy foods in foreign markets.
The firm based in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, is investing 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) in the factory, which will have an annual output capacity of 1,000 kiloliters, and plans to start shipments in January 2020.
"We picked Thailand as it is an important global export hub for food products," a Hanamaruki spokesman told NNA.
Japan’s major producer of miso, a salty type of paste made from soya beans for Japanese foods such as miso soup, launched liquid shio-koji in the domestic market in 2012.
In Thailand in 2015, it began selling the product, which can be also used to marinate meat and fish, to chicken-processing factories and other food businesses through Hanamaruki Thailand Co., its local unit, while receiving orders from Europe and the United States.
Last September, the Japanese company set up Siam Hanamaruki Co., a wholly owned Thai subsidiary, to manufacture shio-koji to meet demand from Asia, Europe and the United States.
As part of its efforts to expand sales abroad, it aims to achieve 2 billion yen in shio-koji sales in 2022, with overseas markets accounting for 25 percent of the targeted figure.
The liquid shio-koji plant, which has a floor space of 16,175 square meters, is located in Hemaraj Saraburi Industrial Land, an industrial park in the central province of Saraburi. (NNA/Kyodo)