Spices and S&B Foods
S&B Foods — Japan's leading spice producer
The spice market in Japan rakes in approximately ¥56.2 billion with S&B the undisputed leader. Unlike other countries, approximately half the market is comprised of tube products, which S&B Foods both created and nurtured to their current popularity. The next largest share is comprised of pepper products with the most popular being a unique black and white pepper mix developed by S&B Foods. Other sizeable market segments include curry powder and assorted chili pepper spices, both of which S&B introduced to Japan.
In recent years, la-yu (chili oil) has seen increased popularity. S&B Foods first sold la-yu in Japan in 1966 and today holds 80% of the market for this fiery oil. In mid 2009 a chunky la-yu appeared in the market. Containing crushed garlic, almonds and other goodies, it is commonly used as a topping for white rice. We now have our own version of this taste delight and because of it, sales of our la-yu products have skyrocketed.
Not shown on the graph is the market for fresh herbs, such as basil and rosemary, both of which have become firmly established in the country. S&B Foods has been contributing to this continually growing market for over 20 years.
As the market leader, S&B Foods has been essential to fostering Japan’s spice and herb culture for over a quarter century and we are now showing the world how spice is done, Japanese style.
A long and seasoned history
Discover how S&B Foods contributes to furthering the spice and herb culture in Japan.
Curry powder, Japanese style
In 1923, during the midst of Japan’s modernization, our founder Minejiro Yamazaki became infatuated with curry from Europe. After many setbacks he finally succeeded in making curry powder in Japan. Now we control 80% of the curry powder market, and the name "S&B" has become synonymous with delicious curry.
The world’s first mixed pepper
It wasn’t until well after World War II that black and white pepper were widely used in Japan. In the early 1950s the country was unfamiliar with these spices and people generally avoided them, saying they tasted of chemicals. S&B responded by mixing black and white pepper, thereby creating an entirely original product that rapidly gained in popularity.
Garlic powder comes to Japan
The next spice condiment that S&B introduced was garlic powder. Fresh garlic was already widely consumed in Japan, but it was S&B that developed an easy-to-use, odor-free version of garlic in powder form. In order to market the new product we held a sweepstakes, the winners of which received a special French Renault automobile, a rarity at the time.
The world’s first tube spice
Wasabi and ginger have been consumed for ages in Japan. But it was S&B that first packaged these in tubes, giving people a tasty, fuss-free alternative to the fresh versions. We also offer tube garlic paste. The tube spice market in Japan now accounts for over half the spices sold in the country.
Japan's #1 producer of fresh herbs
Herbs have been popular in Japan for over 30 years and have a variety of uses, including cooking, gardening and aroma therapy. Our dedication and tireless efforts, starting 20 years ago, have been instrumental in introducing a new generation to the joy of fresh herbs. Today we now hold the largest market share in this category, too.
Nurturing the spice and herb culture
Following World War II spices and herbs from the West began to first catch on in Japan. At first people were perplexed as to how to properly use the new condiments. Enter S&B. We taught the nation how to enjoy the new spices and herbs through wide-ranging promotions and by gradually expanding our product lineup.
We are still at it today, promoting spices and herbs via TV, magazines and internet as well as distributing recipes at stores. We are even grooming spice and herb experts in order to hold seminars and other events to further popularize these tasty condiments.