Ajinomoto Co., Inc. To Strengthen Its Frozen Foods Business in North America

April 27 2017

Approx. USD 39 Million Investment to Build a New Plant That Will Strengthen the Production System for Frozen Appetizers

TOKYO, April 27, 2017 – Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (“Ajinomoto Co.”) will strengthen its production system for frozen appetizers* for food service to expand its frozen foods business in North America. By building a new plant for Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. (“AWI”) in Missouri, U.S.A. to increase production capacity for frozen appetizers, Ajinomoto Co. aims to strengthen its business for food service and establish a strong No. 2 position in the frozen appetizer market. Investment will be approximately USD 39 million (approximately JPY 4.4 billion), with operations scheduled to start in November 2017.

* “Appetizers” in this press release refers to fried foods such as breaded
vegetables (onions, zucchini, etc.) and cheese eaten as a snack or side dish.

Food service is an important sales channel that accounts for approximately 30% of AWI’s sales, and frozen appetizers are a core category that makes up about 30% of its sales in that channel. The market for frozen appetizers for food service has grown approximately 5% over the past two years, during which time sales of AWI’s frozen appetizers have increased approximately 6% per year. On the other hand, the company’s two existing frozen appetizer plants are already nearing maximum production capacity, and are not expected to be able to meet growth in demand, which is projected to continue.

AWI will invest approximately USD 39 million to build a new plant with an annual production capacity of 25,000 tons in the city of Joplin, near the Carthage Plant (Carthage) in Missouri. Construction has already begun, and production is scheduled to start in November 2017. With the construction of the new plant, the technologies of Ajinomoto Co. and Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc. will be introduced in the frozen appetizer category to develop, produce and sell specialty frozen appetizers. To promote AWI’s long-term development, sufficient space has been secured in the new plant for future production increases.

Along with the construction of the new plant, AWI has concluded an agreement to transfer ownership of the Piedmont Plant, one of its existing plants, to Today’s Food, LLC, a manufacturer of frozen and refrigerated food products, in early 2018. The Piedmont Plant will meet North American customers’ demand for appetizers as an AWI plant until the Joplin Plant begins operations.

In its FY2017-2019 Medium-Term Management Plan, Ajinomoto Co. has set a key strategy of ensuring food products business growth with a stronger regional portfolio, and aims to establish a clear No. 1 position in Asian/Ethnic frozen foods in North America by using AWI’s business foundation as a base for the application of Japanese technologies. Ajinomoto Co. also plans to accelerate business development in both the consumer and food service channels, and to make priority investments, including the investment announced in this press release, to achieve this objective. Ajinomoto Co. will contribute to the health and well-being of local consumers through the development of product categories adapted to local eating habits and food culture.
Image of AWI’s Joplin Plant
*Note: USD 1 = JPY 112.19 (exchange rate as of March 31, 2017)

Overview of the New Plant
(1) Location: Joplin, Missouri, United States of America
(2) Investment: Approximately USD 39 million (approximately JPY 4.4 billion)
(3) Site area: Land: approximately 100,000m2; 
total floor area: approximately 12,000m2 (single-story building)
(4) Production items: Frozen appetizers (fried onion rings, fried cheese sticks, etc.)
(5) Production capacity: 25,000 tons per year
(6) Start of operation: November 2017 (scheduled)

Reference
Overview of Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.
(1) Location: Ontario, California, United States of America
(2) Established: June 30, 2000
(3) Representative: Bernard Kreilmann, President
(4) Equity ownership: Ajinomoto North America Holdings, Inc. approximately 98%
Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc. approximately 2%
(5) Business description: Manufacture and sale of seasonings and frozen foods for home use and food service
(6) Sales regions: United States of America, Canada, Mexico
(7) Number of employees: Approximately 2,500 (as of February 2017)

About Ajinomoto Co.
Ajinomoto Co. is a global manufacturer of high-quality seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. For many decades Ajinomoto Co. has contributed to food culture and human health through wide-ranging application of amino acid technologies. Today, the company is becoming increasingly involved with solutions for improved food resources, human health and global sustainability. Founded in 1909 and now operating in 30 countries and regions, Ajinomoto Co. had net sales of JPY 1,185.9 billion (USD 9.87 billion) in fiscal 2015. For more about Ajinomoto Co. (TYO: 2802), visit www.ajinomoto.com.

For further information, please contact:
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Public Communications Department; pr_info@ajinomoto.com