History & Heritage

Kikkoman has an unrivalled history and heritage, going back more than 300 years and is still managed by descendants of the same family. Its world-famous naturally brewed soy sauce is still made to the very same recipe created in Japan all those centuries ago.

However, Kikkoman is today an international company with a 6,500-strong workforce and nine soy sauce manufacturing sites around the world, including the Netherlands, which produces soy sauce for the UK. This plant opened 10 years ago and now produces enough naturally brewed soy sauce to fill four Olympic-size swimming pools every year!

History of Soy

The Japanese started to use soy as a seasoning in around 500AD when the influence of Chinese Buddhism forbade the use of flavoursome meat and fish based sauces.

When Dutch and Portuguese traders reached Japanese shores in the 17th century, they prized soy sauce above any other condiment. It was traded through Europe and when it reached France, King Louis XIV named it "liquid spice", which is how it has been known ever since.

Taste Over 300 Years of Tradition

Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce is manufactured according to a 300-year-old traditional Japanese recipe using just soybeans, wheat, salt and water. It develops its characteristic deep, reddish-brown colour, clarity and rich, full flavour and spicy aroma in a continuous, gentle fermentation which lasts several months. An expert soy sauce taster can detect as many as 300 different aromas resulting from the brewing process!