Full-throttle pasta Kobe Mizho Honpo Inc.

Website: Kobe Mizho Honpo Inc.External site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Food

Selling pasta to Italians

Kobe Mizho Honpo Inc. President and CEO Tomoaki Akiyama brims with confidence. His company's pasta is the best, no question. It was this certainty that took him to the Italian Consulate. As is his style, he cooked up some fresh frozen pasta right there and stood back, waiting for a reaction. The verdict? Delicious. Akiyama knew then that his confidence was rightly placed. If Italians liked his Japan-made pasta, he could surely sell it to the world. And he has. Since his company's December 2006 founding, it has made its way to nine countries across three continents (Asia, Australia and North America) and has its sights set on Europe and the Middle East within the year.

President and CEO Tomoaki Akiyama, Kobe Mizho Honpo's visionary

Kobe Mizho Honpo's spaghetti, one type of its "frozen fresh perfect pasta"

Fifteen-second rule

If Akiyama's plans for expansion seem ambitious, it's because that's the way he is. His vision for Kobe Mizho Honpo was pasta ready in a snap, and that's exactly what the company created. Fifteen seconds in boiling water, and it goes from frozen to ready-tender, smooth, and with just the right amount of chewiness. Its soba noodles, made from 100 percent buckwheat flour, are just as fast and a healthy and delicious fast food option for the gluten intolerant. In early January 2014, he envisioned 100 percent gluten-free Japanese rice pasta. Less than a month later, it was ready for production and shipment abroad. Clearly focused on the overseas market from day one, everything from texture to flavor to packaging is created with this in mind.

Kobe Mizho Honpo's frozen pastas are all additive free and have a shelf life of one year. Made from custom-ordered, 100 percent durum semolina, the different pastas are made using high-yield machinery that mimics handmade techniques. While other mass producers make noodles by forcing dough through extruding machines, Kobe Mizho Honpo believes that good pasta should be rolled out and cut, and to that end, Akiyama dreamed up equipment to do just that-the dough is shaped into what looks like a kimono sash and then cut to a specified width. Akiyama has similarly strong feelings about his company's 100 percent buckwheat flour blends, and thanks to custom milling, the company is able to deliver.

Kimono sash-like rolled-out pasta enters Kobe Mizho Honpo's special machinery in a sheet and comes out cut to the desired width

Kobe Mizho Honpo linguini-perfect pasta taste, perfect pasta texture, and ready in just 15 seconds

The whole package

Akiyama firmly believes his company's noodles are his best sales representatives. But forget a sample in the mail-he'll fly out to see you, noodles in tow, and requesting only a pot of boiling water, he'll redefine your perception of what 15 seconds is capable of achieving. Akiyama is keen to create relationships with distributors, and with a possible output of 650,000 servings each day with Kobe Mizho Honpo's new high-volume manufacturing equipment, it can deliver the goods with ease.

Taste, texture, speed: Kobe Mizho Honpo has all the bases covered. And with Akiyama constantly dreaming up new products, he'll no doubt continue to innovate in the world of noodles far into the future.