Thirty years since setting up its first overseas operation in California, Japanese food manufacturer Azuma Foods now has a customer roster of 300 companies, which include some of America’s largest retailers like Costco and Whole Foods.

“We chose California as our first entry into the U.S. because of its location, convenience and low utility costs. Our target market is more high-end, where quality is very important. And our customer knows that our food has good quality,” said Azuma Foods International Inc. USA President and CEO Takahiro Tamura, who has overseen the company since the start.

As Japanese food becomes more popular in the United States, Azuma Foods has played a huge role in educating the American market about Japanese food and culture. To localize its business, it has also introduced fusion products to cater to American tastes.

“While we manufacture Japanese products, what we really do is use Japanese ideas, technology and flavor. We mix the very traditional way of making our products, while developing different flavor profiles suited for the market,” Tamura said.

As sustainability and health have become more important to American consumers, Azuma Foods has also made products that are low-calorie, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher.

“Because of the way we have been doing our business since the beginning, we are pushing a lot of limits in terms of quality. We have obtained several certifications and our programs have continuously evolved. We have a large quality control staff who work continuously to ensure we stay ahead of compliance,” Corporate Administrator Director Daniel Mazzei said.

Looking to its future in the United States, Azuma Foods remains committed to provide quality foods and ingredients to the market, while adapting quickly to an ever-evolving industry.