History Special Site Nichirei's Story

会社設立から現在までのニチレイの歩みを日本の食の歴史と共にニチレイの歴史をご紹介しています。

ニチレイの歴史を見る

1940s & ’50s

With Japan’s resources exhausted by World War II, food shortages were a serious problem during the immediate postwar era. There was no food to distribute in urban areas, so people turned to the black market to find food. The country had emerged from this dark period by the 1950s, and the consumption of food began to rise, with Western foods having a growing impact on eating habits.

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1942
Teikoku Marine Products Control Company

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The Japanese government consolidated fishery companies to form the Teikoku Marine Products Control Company (currently Nichirei), in order to manage the country’s marine resources during the war.

1945 New start: Nippon Reizo

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Teikoku Marine Products was heavily damaged during the war, but was revived as a private company in order to help address Japan’s widespread postwar food shortage.

Rising consumption boosts business

As the nation’s war wounds healed and consumption increased, demand for fish and meat grew. Nippon Reizo recognized the business opportunity, and steadily expanded its meat and poultry, as well as its processed foods businesses, in parallel with its frozen food, refrigeration, and marine products businesses.

1946 Fruit juice ice candy Reika

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1952 Prepared frozen foods

Nichirei’s business began with frozen fish sales and ice production, so the development of prepared frozen foods led to our main focus: processed frozen foods rooted in cooling power. At the time, schools and other organizations that simultaneously served a large number of meals began demanding foods that were easy to prepare, of consistent quality, and safe. Frozen foods met these needs.

1957 At the South Pole

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Frozen foods for the home

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While frozen foods were still used mostly for school lunches and other group meals, Nichirei began promoting frozen foods for household use with department store tastings and special events.

1960s–’70s

Japan had entered a period of rapid economic growth, and the three essential status symbols of a television, washing machine, and refrigerator became commonplace in the home. However, Japan’s development stagnated with the oil crises of 1973 and 1979.

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The Nichirei brand

From 1959 to 1985, Nippon Reizo used a star as the brand symbol for all its products. The cheery and uncluttered mark was widely promoted, creating a brand beloved by consumers.

1964 Olympic athletes eat frozen foods

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1960s Use of refrigerators becomes widespread

By the 1960s, refrigerator-freezers were common household appliances. This marked the beginning of broad acceptance of frozen foods for household use.。

Distribution network in Japan

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Supermarkets selling meat and other raw foods began to appear, supporting the creation of a cold chain logistics network. This would ensure that food retained its freshness while being brought from producing areas to stores.。

1970 Japan World Exposition

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1980s–’90s

More women began working outside the home, which drove a shift to restaurant and takeout meals. The number of fast food and convenience store chains grew, and became an established part of everyday life. It was at this time that convenient frozen foods began to become more popular.

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Management crisis

Nippon Reizo faced challenges on multiple fronts—including the stagnant incomes following the oil crises, slowing population growth, a peak in the number of calories Japanese consume, and a substantial loss resulting from a miscalculation in the market for marine products.

1980s Overcoming the business crisis

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Nichirei sought to overcome its multilayered management crisis by conducting an in-house campaign, Tomorrow’s Nichirei, to solicit employees’ opinions on the company’s future. We began to formulate a new management plan based on the views received.

1985 The first step: a new name

The company made a fresh start using the concept of satisfaction of the heart, changed its corporate name to Nichirei, and adopted the stylized capital letter N as its logo.

Miracle fruit acerola

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1988 Nichirei goes to the Netherlands

Nichirei’s foray into the temperature-controlled logistics business overseas began with the establishment of an infrastructure network in Europe. We acquired a Dutch refrigerated storage company, and gradually expanded our network to Germany (1989), Poland (2004), and France (2010).

Frozen foods a success

By the 1990s, a growing number of people were eating meals at restaurants or as ready-made lunches. Taking advantage of this trend, Nichirei launched a series of hit products.

1994 Croquettes beat conventional wisdom

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Since 2000

As the trend toward a low birthrate continued as the population inevitably continued to age, more women entered the workforce. Lifestyles changed with an increase in single-person households and a bigger senior population, while eating habits diversified in line with these trends. Various incidents involving food increased consumer interest and awareness of food safety.

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2001 Authentic Fried Rice

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2000 Quality assurance

Around 2000, alarms were raised about residual agricultural chemicals in frozen vegetables produced in China. Nichirei had been conducting safety monitoring through local distributors, but decided to revise its approach to include cultivation methods, management of agricultural chemicals, and to put in place a traceability system.

This framework allows us to offer products with even greater safety and reliability. Currently, a joint venture company established in China handles quality inspections, and we do not buy produce from distributors that lack the ability to comply with Nichirei’s standards. Various safety concerns have since continued to surface, and Nichirei has made strengthening its quality assurance capabilities a priority measure.

2005 Shift to a holding company structure

Major social and economic changes made speedy decision-making and adaptation to shifting business environments a necessity. Nichirei shifted to a holding company structure, with the holding company (Nichirei Corporation) setting overall strategy for the corporate Group, and five business companies handling processed foods (Nichirei Foods), logistics (Nichirei Logistics Group), marine products, meat and poultry (Nichirei Fresh), bioscience (Nichirei Biosciences), and business support (Nichirei Proserve* merged with Nichirei Corp. in 2013).

2007
Junwakei chickens

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Overseas business development accelerates

Nichirei Foods, the business company handling processed foods, established a chicken processing plant in Thailand (GFPT Nichirei) to meet the growing demand for processed chicken products. Along with exports to Japan, these products are sold domestically and exported to Europe. Nichirei Foods has also acquired a US Asian foods company (InnovAsian Cuisine), and sales are steadily increasing; the overseas sales ratio is expanding rapidly.

Nichirei Logistics Group, the company handling temperature-controlled logistics, has also expanded its overseas network, from a presence in Europe in 1988, to China in 2004, and Thailand in 2013.

New refrigerated warehouses

Import volume is growing, and cargo is increasingly being concentrated in the major consuming areas of Tokyo and Kansai. The Nichirei Logistics Group is steadily enhancing its storage capacity, and recently established the Higashi-Ogishima Distribution Center (Kawasaki) in the greater Tokyo area, and the Sakishima Distribution Center (Osaka) in the Kansai area.