Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 366, March 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


Through a series of acquisitions dating back to 1981, MITSUKAN CO., LTD. has emerged as the U.S. sales leader in food vinegars. It recently solidified this position through the $13.8 million or so purchase of SPEACO FOODS, INC. The Kansas City, Missouri-headquartered company has plants in Rogers, Arkansas, Lodi, California and Dallas as well as in Kansas City. In addition to producing an assortment of vinegars, Speaco Foods makes such other products as ciders, sauces, condiments and juices. Sales, particularly to private-label grocery wholesalers and retailers, run around $20 million a year. Not only does the Speaco Foods purchase boost the market share of NAKANO FOODS, INC., the actual buyer, to 37 percent, but it gives the Arlington Heights, Illinois-based company production capacity through the middle of the United States, complementing its eight factories on the East and West Coasts. Nakano Foods specializes in value-added products, such as seasoned vinegars. For that reason, while it is the sales leader, it ranks a distant second to San Francisco's BURNS PHILP FOOD, INC. in terms of volume.

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