Kewpie Corporation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Learn about Kewpie's dedication to valuing its customers' health over a 100-year history.
Company founding
Post-war recovery
Growth period
Further endeavor
Shokuhin Kogyo Co., Ltd. (now Kewpie Corporation) founded
In 1919, Kewpie’s predecessor company, Shokuhin Kogyo Co., Ltd., was founded as a food manufacturer. The company, located in modern-day Nakano-ku, Tokyo, started manufacturing sauces and canned goods. Toichiro Nakashima was listed as one of several directors at Shokuhin Kogyo when the company was established. He subsequently commenced the manufacture of Kewpie Mayonnaise and played a key role in the company’s ensuing growth.
In 1918, Nakashima founded Nakashima Shoten (now NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD.), which marketed products manufactured by Kewpie until 1972.
Japan’s first mayonnaise manufactured and marketed
In the 1910s Nakashima spent about three years in the UK and the US as an overseas intern of the then Japan Department of Agriculture and Commerce. That was when he first encountered orange marmalade and mayonnaise.
In 1923 the Great Kanto earthquake hit the Tokyo-Yokohama area. As Japan resurrected itself after the earthquake, Nakashima saw its way of life changing, one example being the Westernization of female students’ clothes. He sensed that change would come to the Japanese diet as well, and started working toward manufacturing mayonnaise at Shokuhin Kogyo.
In 1925 the company launched Kewpie Mayonnaise, a highly nutritious mayonnaise made using only egg yolks. The move was inspired by Nakashima’s desire to help improve the physiques and health of Japanese people by making delicious, nutritious mayonnaise so widely available that it became a daily necessity. The brand name was the name of the Kewpie doll character that was popular at the time.
When Kewpie Mayonnaise was launched, mayonnaise was virtually unknown in Japan. Nakashima used originality and ingenuity to popularize the new product: in advertising, for example, he used beautifully drawn pictures in which Kewpie Mayonnaise was placed casually on dining tables.
Aohata Marmalade launched
Kidoen Corporation (now Aohata
Corporation) established
When first launched, Aohata Marmalade was manufactured by Shokuhin Kogyo, but subsequently manufacturing started at Kidoen Corporation, which had been established with investment from Nakashima Shoten. Later, Kidoen Corporation became the main manufacturer of products such as jams and canned fruit.
Links to current products
Kewpie Group used technologies cultivated through manufacturing Aohata Marmalade, such as ingredient processing and canning technologies, to offer products for both household use and food service use. Such products include jams, pasta sauces, baby foods, and nursing care foods. This has enabled Kewpie to contribute to the food requirements of each generation, from babies to the elderly.
Shipments of Kewpie Mayonnaise
reach approximately 500 tons
Exploring effective uses for egg white
In 1941, shipments of mayonnaise reached almost 100,000 cases (approximately 500 tons). As mayonnaise production volume increased, the need to generate demand for the leftover egg whites became pressing.
During this period when a rapidly increasing amount of egg white was being generated, Nakashima allegedly often said that to make a success of the mayonnaise business, the company had to find a good way to sell egg white.
The never-ending quest for the effective use of eggs has led to the development and marketing of products that take full advantage of their unique traits.
Manufacturing of Kewpie Mayonnaise resumed
The outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941 made it impossible to obtain the ingredients for mayonnaise, and around 1943 Shokuhin Kogyo was forced to halt manufacturing. Even after the war ended, commodities continued to be in short supply and the only way to manufacture mayonnaise was to use ingredients obtained via the black market. However, Nakashima felt that was against his personal beliefs, and adamantly refused to procure black market ingredients. Consequently, manufacturing was finally resumed only in 1948, when ingredients of reliable quality started to become available again.
Even after manufacturing was resumed, Nakashima maintained his strong beliefs about ingredients, and would halt manufacture again whenever good ingredients were not available, convinced even then that good products begin with good ingredients. He also remained committed to honesty and integrity as the approaches required of those involved in the food industry. As a result of never compromising on this “Quality First” mind-set, the company earned customers’ trust and mayonnaise shipment volumes grew.
The origins of the Kewpie Group Corporate Motto, “RAKU-GYOU-KAI-ETSU”
The post-war period brought shortages in all kinds of commodities and the black market became a normal part of life. Some employees were keen to start making mayonnaise again as soon as possible, even if it meant procuring ingredients on the black market. But Nakashima flatly refused, causing several employees to part ways with him and leave. This experience convinced Nakashima that job motivation comes from enjoying work with people who have the same ambitions and rejoicing together. This conviction formed the basis for the Kewpie Group Corporate Motto, “RAKU-GYOU-KAI-ETSU.”
Company name changed to Kewpie Corporation
In 1957 Shokuhin Kogyo changed its name to Kewpie Corporation. The words shokuhin kogyo (“food industry”) had come to be used for the food manufacturing sector in general and there was an increase in the number of companies incorporating the words “food industries” into their names. The company therefore sought to differentiate itself by making use of the Kewpie brand name, which had become familiar to the public over more than 30 years since the first mayonnaise was launched. Accordingly, the brand name was simply adopted unchanged as the new company name.
Mayonnaise in a plastic bottle launched
In 1958 Kewpie Corporation supplemented its mayonnaise in glass jars and polyethylene bags by launching Kewpie Mayonnaise in stand-up plastic bottles that were even easier to use.
Kewpie reduced its prices every time it streamlined its manufacturing process, and in combination with the launch of plastic bottles, this supported rapid growth in the mayonnaise market. The market growth helped realize Nakashima’s ambition—harbored since he first launched mayonnaise—of turning the product into a daily necessity. Thereafter, Kewpie strived to meet the rapid growth in demand by constructing plants, and building and improving facilities.
Japan’s first dressing manufactured and marketed
As demand for Kewpie Mayonnaise rapidly increased, Kewpie embarked on development of products other than mayonnaise, manufacturing and marketing Japan’s first dressing in 1958. Having started with Kewpie French Dressing, Kewpie’s dressings subsequently extended to a wide range of varieties, catering to the needs of the times.
Factory tours started
Factory tours started in earnest in 1961. The tours were prompted by requests for local elementary school pupils to visit on field trips. Giving children a rare opportunity to see inside factories allows us to communicate to them our aspirations and mind-set with regard to our products.
Open Kitchen
Kewpie regards its factories as extensions of the household kitchen. That is why we gave our factory tours the name “Open Kitchen.” Currently, around 100,000 people participate in tours annually, visiting four factories across Japan and the Mayoterrace tour facility in Chofu, Tokyo.
Making our own ingredients
Nishifu Industries Co., Ltd. (now
Kewpie Jyozo Co., Ltd.) established
Vinegar is key to the flavor of mayonnaise. For Kewpie Mayonnaise we use richly flavored vinegar fermented from ingredients such as apple juice and malt using our own unique technologies. When Nakashima first launched mayonnaise, however, his ideal type of vinegar was not available in Japan. So he secured the cooperation of Japanese brewers and set about developing vinegar. In 1962 he established Nishifu Industries Co., Ltd. in collaboration with those brewers. The new company started manufacturing vinegar for use solely in mayonnaise.
Television broadcasting of Kewpie’s Three-minute Cooking started
In 1962, Kewpie’s Three-minute Cooking started to be broadcast on television. It was inspired by a desire to help with planning daily meals by giving cooking tips in a format similar to weather forecasts. Ever since broadcasts started, Kewpie’s Three-minute Cooking has remained a program unique to Kewpie Corporation, providing simple, convenient recipes that help with planning daily meals.
Kewpie’s approach to advertising
In addition to Kewpie’s Three-minute Cooking, other well-known initiatives conducted continuously for many years include advertising aimed at encouraging people to eat more vegetables (started in 1974), and sponsorship of the All-Japan Mothers’ Chorus (started in 1978). This mind-set of maintaining consistent, long-term initiatives is the basis for Kewpie’s cherished belief that advertising should be built up as a form of capital or asset. This approach was established by Yuichi Nakashima, former chairman and executive corporate adviser, and has been handed down to Kewpie’s advertising activities today.
Kewpie Souko Corporation (now K.R.S. Corporation) established
When shipments of Kewpie Mayonnaise grew dramatically and Kewpie’s plants became extremely busy with warehousing ingredients and materials, and shipping out products, the Company established Kewpie Souko Corporation. The aim when establishing the company was to improve efficiency by creating a new company to handle warehousing, while production and marketing would be handled separately by Kewpie Corporation and NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD., respectively.
Initially Kewpie Souko’s work mainly entailed storing and shipping mayonnaise manufactured at the Sengawa Plant and products handled by NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD. Before long, however, the company also started delivering products to customers and processing orders, taking on increasing responsibility for distribution inside and outside the Kewpie Group.
San-ei Provisions Co., Ltd. and entry into the food service market
In 1969 NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD. outsourced marketing of Kewpie’s products for food service use to San-ei Provisions Co., Ltd. Aspiring to supply safer, more reliable products as the food service and school lunch markets expanded, Nakashimato started marketing food-service products in earnest via San-ei Provisions. Subsequently, as the market for the food service industry spread further, customers’ needs became more diverse and sophisticated, and San-ei Provisions responded directly to those needs, laying the foundations for today’s food service operations. In 1990, San-ei Provisions merged with Kewpie Corporation when the Kewpie Group restructured its sales system.
Marketing of products manufactured by Kewpie transferred from NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD. to Kewpie Corporation
From the founding of Shokuhin Kogyo until 1972, Nakashimato was responsible for marketing of products manufactured by Kewpie, developing sales channels and building relationships of trust with customers. Now, however, Nakashimato is responsible for areas such as the Kewpie Group’s advertising, brand management, IT systems, and management of its real estate.
Kewpie Aohata Group’s overseas division established
In 1975, Kewpie Aohata Group’s overseas division was established, led by NAKASHIMATO CO., LTD. Subsequently, the division extended its operations overseas, making use of technologies cultivated in Japan and employing strategies tailored to each country’s dietary culture.
Establishment of Deria Foods Co., Ltd. and entry into the ready-made foods market
In 1970s Japan the social context around food started to change significantly with more women in the workforce, more nuclear families, and a flourishing food service industry. Japan gradually shifted away from the accepted norm of making home-made meals from scratch toward consuming meals outside the home with an increasingly diverse range of options to choose from. To proactively meet demand in this market, Kewpie established Deria Foods Co., Ltd. and sought to expand its operations in the salad and delicatessen foods market areas.
Kewpie Egg Corporation established
Ever since it started manufacturing Kewpie Mayonnaise, Kewpie has worked at making use of the egg whites that are a by-product. Eventually we were able to market not only egg whites, but also egg yolks and whole eggs by breaking the eggs and processing them into egg ingredient products such as refrigerated liquid egg and frozen egg.
Aiming to further specialize in these forms of processing and cater to a diverse range of customer needs, we established Kewpie Egg Corporation in 1977.
In December 2018, the former Kewpie Egg Corporation, merged with Kanae Foods Co., Ltd. and made a new start as the renewed Kewpie Egg Corporation. Manufactures and markets a wide range of prepared processed egg products such as omelets and scrambled egg.
Entry into the fine chemical products field
Eggs, one of the main ingredients of mayonnaise, contain many of the components necessary to sustain life. Focusing on this fact, Kewpie launched its Fine Chemicals Business to extract the useful components from eggs and take advantage of them. In 1982 the business started marketing egg yolk lecithin in earnest, and subsequently developed and sold numerous products in a wide variety of fields, from food to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
BEIJING KEWPIE CO., LTD. established
BEIJING KEWPIE CO., LTD. was established in 1993 to manufacture and market mayonnaise in China. Since its establishment, the company has manufactured and marketed mainly mayonnaise, as well as dressings and jams, in China. In addition to promoting menu proposals in line with the growing acceptance of Western-style foods including salads and bread, the company has taken a wide range of steps to raise awareness of the Kewpie brand. The value of the Kewpie brand was recognized by the Chinese government in 2010, when Kewpie became the first Japanese food manufacturer to receive the “Far Famed Trademark*” certification.
* The Far Famed Trademark is a certification issued by the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China for highly visible and recognizable brands.
Salad Club, Inc. established
Kewpie established Salad Club, Inc. in 1999, anticipating an increase in demand for packaged salads (i.e., cut vegetables) that would enable fresh salad to be eaten easily and without wastage at any time. It took this move in response to changes in the social context, such as the increase in working women and single-person households, and the shift toward nuclear households.
The packaged salads manufactured and marketed by Salad Club comprise very fresh vegetables that are processed and packaged in hygienic factories to enable consumption without further washing. In collaboration with vegetable producers all over Japan, the company pays meticulous attention to the freshness and flavor of the products it supplies.
Group R&D and opening of the Sengawa Kewport-office complex
In 2013 Kewpie opened the Sengawa Kewport complex on the site of the former Sengawa Plant in Chofu, Tokyo. The complex combines the Group’s R&D and head office functions.
Sengawa Kewport is working to accelerate product development and create innovative new products by combining the strengths of all the Group’s divisions to an unprecedented degree. Prompted by a belief that this will necessitate more active inter-departmental communication, the design of the complex incorporates open-plan spaces with minimal walls and pillars on each story and plenty of places for internal meetings, as well as kitchen areas that make it easy to sample products and meal ideas.
As a result, we are now seeing products developed through cooperation among the Group’s various divisions.
Kewpie Mirai Tamago Foundation established to contribute to society through food
Having inherited the spirit of its founder, Toichiro Nakashima, who aspired to contribute to society through food, the Kewpie Group goes beyond its regular business activities to engage proactively in social contribution initiatives such as food educational activities.
In 2017 we established Kewpie Mirai Tamago Foundation to support organizations devoted to food education and creation of spaces where children can feel at home . In so doing, we aspired to augment pursuit of our own existing initiatives by facilitating social contributions that would be impossible for us to achieve on our own.
Established Guangzhou Kewpie Corporation in China and Kewpie Philippines, Inc. in the Philippines
In 2018 we established Guangzhou Kewpie Corporation in China, seeking to boost the production capacity of our Chinese business and accelerate market development in the rapidly growing South China area. In the same year, we established Kewpie Philippines, Inc. as the importing and marketing base for Kewpie Group products in the Philippines.

Looking ahead, we will continue to combine cultivation of the domestic market with further development of our operations overseas to bring smiles to the world’s dining tables.
Targeting the next 100 years
Since its founding in 1919 Kewpie has cherished its founder’s dedication to valuing customers’ health.
As we target the next 100 years, we will maintain that dedication while embarking on further new endeavors, aiming to be a company that empowers employees of all kinds to play an active role and continue developing.
Company founding
Company founding
Company founding
Company founding
Post-war recovery
Post-war recovery
Growth period
Growth period
Growth period
Growth period
Growth period
Growth period
Further endeavor
Further endeavor
Further endeavor
Further endeavor
Further endeavor
Further endeavor