Meet Japanese Companies with Quality
Peanut Products for the Planet Jitsukawa Foods
Website: Jitsukawa Foods
Category: Japanese Food
Chiba: a peanut paradise
Volcanic ash pervades the soil of Shimosa Plateau, which covers most of Chiba Prefecture. The nutrients in the rich brown soil have made this area Japan’s top producer for peanuts. Ten years ago, Kiyoko Jitsukawa took over the peanut-growing activities of a 50-year-old agricultural company, creating Jitsukawa Foods. Now, with her team of seven employees, the Director works most days at the factory, and it’s her energy and positive character that has cracked open peanut-shaped doors in the small city of Yachimata. Though peanuts are often seen as a mass-produced crop, the industry in Japan is quite different. Producing peanuts is an artisanal skill—and experience is indispensable in creating the perfect product. Immense work is involved in selecting, washing, boiling, drying, roasting, and a final selection by hand. “Delicious things take substantial effort,” explains Jitsukawa. “That’s why they’re so good.” Their best seller, roasted shelled peanuts, are popular as seasonal gifts and sold in supermarkets and retailers around the country.
The number of local peanut vendors in Japan has halved over the years. But Jitsukawa’s business has kept on growing. The nut visionary has continued to create new products for the market such as peanut butter—still a fairly unfamiliar food to the Japanese. Five years ago, she began converting her irregular peanuts into paste to create an all-natural, condensed peanut butter. In March 2013, a famous Japanese personality took a shine to the product on TV. Its ranking of sixth out of 245 selected delicacies brought it to a substantial base of loyal consumers.
Nuts for travel
In 2009, Jitsukawa approached nearby Narita Airport in the hope of reaching a higher number of people with delicacies locally produced in Chiba. The approach resulted in a demand for a relatively unknown product—wasabi-flavored peanuts. Jitsukawa returned to her factory and developed the green taste sensation—and a staple seller at the airport was born. Locals and foreigners alike snapped up the delicious nibble, with its irresistible spiciness and moreish quality making it a good plane snack, a perfect accompaniment to a few drinks or a fine present for friends and family overseas.
Jitsukawa has set her sights on seeing her products—her creamy peanut butter, the wasabi-flavored peanuts and more—grace the shelves of stores abroad. With health consciousness and the desire to eat well on the rise around the globe, her all-natural quality peanut products from Yachimata provide a nutrition-rich answer to modern dietary demands. Jitsukawa’s vision and passion continue to push her forward to her dream of a peanut planet. “What an amazing feeling it would be to see the peanut products produced in this small town sold in a foreign country!” she smiles.
Website: Jitsukawa Foods