"A high-quality logistics partner with a shared focus on sustainability."
Headquartered in Japan, Kikkoman Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer of soy sauce. In 1997 the first European brewery was opened in Sappemeer, in the Dutch province of Groningen, which has been expanding ever since. As a member of the ProTerra Foundation, Kikkoman in Sappemeer actively contributes to the business climate in Groningen. That is why, among other things, cooperation is sought with regional partners. “In Oldenburger|Fritom we have found a high-quality logistics partner with a shared focus on sustainability”, says Jan Stutvoet, Senior Manager Operations at Kikkoman Foods Europe B.V.
The history of Kikkoman dates back to the 17th century. In the Japanese city of Noda, the Mogi family started making a dark brown, aromatic sauce from soybeans, wheat, salt and water. The city's location along the banks of the Edo River offered many advantages: an optimal supply of raw materials and a rapid delivery to the growing city of Edo, present-day Tokyo. A little later, Dutch traders discovered this 'black gold' and brought it to Europe.
In 1917, the Mogi and Takanashi families joined forces. Together they founded Noda Shoyu Co. Ltd. and in 1964 the name was changed to Kikkoman Shoyu Co. Ltd. Since 1980, the company name has been Kikkoman Corporation, with headquarters in Noda and Tokyo. Today, Kikkoman is the global market leader in Japanese soy sauce and an official supplier to the Japanese court. Besides Japan, the company has more than 7,000 employees in, among others, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Australia, the United States, Canada and Europe.
Kikkoman Foods Europe B.V.
In 1997, Kikkoman opened its first brewery in Europe, Kikkoman Foods Europe B.V., in Sappemeer, in the Dutch province of Groningen. This location was chosen for several reasons. The good water quality, the room for expansion and an optimal infrastructure towards other European countries such as Germany. In addition, the presence of qualified personnel in the vicinity was also an important reason for choosing this location.
More than 100 employees in Sappemeer now focus on producing the best quality soy sauce, which is distributed throughout Europe and beyond. Innovation is at the heart of the company. The product range is continuously being further developed, including with other Asian sauces. Kikkoman's European sales office in Düsseldorf sells the products to various customers through an extensive network of distributors. These customers are active in retail, food service and the food industry.
Partnership with Oldenburger|Fritom
The partnership between Kikkoman in Sappemeer and Oldenburger|Fritom was established in 2013. In that year, a complete production line was transported from Japan to the Netherlands for the first time. “We already knew Oldenburger|Fritom as a local logistics service provider,” says Stutvoet. “They offered us the best solution for this special transportation. Oldenburger|Fritom was then, and still is, responsible for the delivery of various Kikkoman products at the right time and in the right place.”
In 2018, the cooperation was expanded with transportation solutions in Europe. First towards Poland and now also towards Germany and France. Stutvoet: “In terms of road transportation in Europe, Kikkoman works together with a small group of logistics service providers that are located in the nearby area. After several meetings with Commercial Manager Marienus van der Laan, we chose to engage Oldenburger|Fritom for this transportation as well. We started small to get to know each other better. The cooperation went well from the start and that is why we have expanded it over the years.”
Since the beginning of 2021, Kikkoman also appeals to the warehousing solutions of Oldenburger|Fritom. Both for raw materials, including soy sauce powder, empty bottles and bottle caps, and for finished products. Oldenburger|Fritom mainly provides value added services (VAS). For example, incoming products from Japan are repackaged for delivery to the B2B market. “Because we continued to grow and continue to grow, the need arose to outsource part of our warehousing activities. In the meantime, Oldenburger|Fritom had become a valuable partner for us, which, thanks to the investment in sustainable warehousing solutions, fitted seamlessly with our sustainable business operations.”
Focus on sustainability
The shared focus on sustainability is expressed in various ways in the partnership between Kikkoman and Oldenburger|Fritom. “Kikkoman is a member of the ProTerra Foundation,” Stutvoet comments. “This includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ProTerra standard was developed in 2006. This standard has a long history in promoting sustainability in food and feed industries and supports the use of non-genetically modified (GMs) seeds.
The standard is organized into ten principles aligned with the goal of promoting sustainable agricultural practices, environmental protection, workers health and safety and human rights. Accepting collective responsibility, we work as much as possible with regional partners.” The partnership with Oldenburger|Fritom is an excellent example of this.
Jan Stutvoet – Senior Manager Operations, Kikkoman Foods Europe B.V.:
“Oldenburger|Fritom's business operations fit seamlessly into Kikkoman’s process chain. In addition, we have a shared focus on sustainability. Thanks to our effective cooperation we can give concrete expression to our sustainability goals.”