Hikari Miso Establishes the Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology

Institute to Leverage Technology and Experience in Joint Research with Outside Organizations to Spread the Appeal of Miso Globally

On January 5, 2012, Hikari Miso established the Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology. The institute is headed by Dr. Kunio Onishi, who also serves as a senior managing director of Hikari Miso. The institute was created to conduct further research into fermentation technology, provide technical instruction in miso fermentation and aging to outside organizations, and disseminate information about miso and other fermented foods overseas.

Founded in 1936, Hikari Miso is relatively young for a miso maker, but youth has not hindered growth. Hikari Miso currently produces 35,000 tons of miso per year. This growth has largely been achieved by introducing new forms of miso, approaching chain operations, managing quality (Hikari Miso was the first in the industry to earn ISO 9001 certification), and pursuing a strategy to become No. 1 in such categories as additive-free miso and organic miso. Hikari Miso’s mission is to provide customers with delicious, safe, and wholesome food products and to contribute to a healthful and enjoyable diet for people around the world. The Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology is a new way, aside from providing food products, to allow Hikari Miso to contribute to the food and distribution industries, as well as to people in our local communities and customers around the globe.

The head of the institute, Dr. Kunio Onishi, is a miso specialist who was first captivated by fermentation micro-organisms and fermented foods at Osaka University, where he majored in Fermentation Engineering. For more than four decades Dr. Onishi has researched and developed technology related to miso fermentation and aging. Hikari Miso is committed to contributing to society in its own inimitable way, by using a variety of mediums to publicly share its technology, knowledge, and experience and that of Dr. Onishi, and by doing everything it can to raise awareness and increase the popularity of the goodness of miso and other fermented foods.

The institute will be involved in three main activities:

  • Fermentation technology research. This will include joint research with university and local research organizations and with food researchers, such as Choju Bishoku Kenkyukai, a group that studies longevity-promoting gourmet diets.
  • Technical instruction in miso fermentation and aging. Instruction will be provided not only in Japan but also to overseas miso factories.
  • Public relations activities involving miso and other fermented foods. Programs will be designed to raise awareness of research into miso uses in cuisine and to increase fermented food awareness and popularity overseas.

Miso demand has decreased 7.7% over the past five years in Japan. Overseas, meanwhile, Japanese food has developed a reputation for being healthy, and miso is on the cusp of fast-paced growth. The Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology will serve as a source of information to remind people in Japan of the health benefits of miso and, overseas, to provide people with a correct understanding about things such as miso manufacturing processes, miso recipes, and nutritional value of miso.

Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology Profile

Company Name: Hikari Institute of Fermentation Technology CO., LTD.
Address: 1145-8 Tagiri, Iijima, Kamiina-gun, Nagano, 399-3701 JAPAN Iijima Green Factory
Established: January 5, 2012
Director: Dr. Kunio Onishi