The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS, or in other words, the 60-year milestone since the invention of instant noodles. The company founder, Momofuku Ando, who lived through the turbulent years of both world wars, developed ChickenRamen, the world’s first instant noodles, at the age of 48 out of the desire to do something beneficial for people and to engage in work that would make the world a better place. The reason that, 60 years after its introduction, Chicken Ramen remains one of our popular mainstay products is that the founder thought through his solution to a difficult problem—how to create a product that consumers truly want and that people would find convenient.
In developing Chicken Ramen, Ando set five objectives: instant noodles must taste delicious, they must have a long shelf-life, they must be quick and easy to prepare, they must be inexpensive, and they must be safe and sanitary. Since instant noodles are a food product, safety and taste are especially important. However, in addition to satisfying these basic requirements, Ando developed “magic ramen” that required no cooking or addition of a separate broth and could be prepared in just three minutes by adding hot water.
Ando often said, “I’m not selling noodles. I’m providing time to our customers.” From the moment it was created, Chicken Ramen was an exceptional food that reflected consideration for the Earth’s sustainability with its ability to save time, energy, and resources.
In November 2017, the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) revised its Charter of Corporate Behavior, asking member companies to manage their businesses in a manner that takes the environment, society, and governance (ESG) into consideration with the aim of delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through realization of Society 5.0.*1 The SDGs, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, have now become a common language worldwide, and the entire international community has begun working to create a sustainable society.
In July 2017, NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS became a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, a global framework to achieve sustainable growth. To help achieve the SDGs, each day we search for solutions through our business activities.
For example, according to a UN estimate, the world population will reach 10 billion in 2055, and there is the threat of a worldwide food crisis. In 2016, NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS used an original production process to develop “soy beef,” made using soy protein as the main raw material. Compared to actual beef, soy beef offers excellent efficiency in terms of original calories*2 and virtual water*3 and can be expected to help solve the problems of food scarcity and water resource depletion.
Furthermore, the development of palm oil plantations that lead to the felling of tropical rainforests and ecosystem disruption, as well as to child labor, has become a recognized a social problem. Accordingly, in September 2017, instituted the Nissin Group Policy on Sustainable Procurement, and in that October NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).*4 We aim to be the first company in the Japanese instant noodles industry*5 to procure certified palm oil produced with due consideration given to preventing deforestation, preserving biodiversity, and protecting human rights.
With respect to corporate governance, in 2016 we implemented a reorganization of the Board of Directors that emphasizes the Corporate Governance Code and further strengthened the auditing function of the Board of Directors. In fiscal 2019, we will change to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the global accounting standard, and we will further strengthen governance groupwide through standardization of accounting treatment within the Group.
The most important function of food products is the nutritional function that sustains life. However, meals taken solely for the sake of subsistence are seldom delicious nor enjoyable. Assurance of food safety and the ability to enjoy meals with peace of mind contributes to ultimate deliciousness.
Since its founding, NISSIN FOODS PRODUCTS has considered the pursuit of food safety the most important management priority. We develop products that consumers can enjoy with confidence and peace of mind through measures such as introducing pharmaceutical-level safety standards in product quality management. Entertainment value is also necessary for making food products appealing. The NISSIN FOODS Group will provide enjoyment to consumers through unique marketing under the policy “What isn’t enjoyable, isn’t delicious.”
The Group also takes a scientific approach to food products. NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS has funded an endowed chair in Taste Science at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and supports work on the elucidation of salty taste receptors that have not yet been defined and research in the scientific evaluation and measurement of the sense of taste. If the elucidation of salty taste receptors advances, efforts to reduce salt intake are expected to accelerate.
In 2015, we established the Health Science Research Division within the NISSIN Global Innovation Center, which pursues research focused on nutrition, immunization, and food product functions. The research addresses not only satisfaction of the five senses, but also the body’s ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) processes. A beautiful, healthy body can be created through a sensible diet, and this research is an attempt to support nutritional improvement and healthy living through instant noodles. The NISSIN FOODS Group will continue to pursue food functionality with the aim of contributing to healthy living.
The NISSIN FOODS Group is implementing various measures for work style reform, which the government has identified as the greatest challenge in building a society in which all 100 million Japanese can play an active role. These measures include pursuing the elimination of long working hours, the introduction of a flextime system with no compulsory set working hours, enhancement of the office environment, and measures to raise employee awareness of efficient work styles. In fiscal 2019, we will further accelerate this movement by taking an inventory of all work and eliminating unnecessary tasks, while also pursuing automation and efficiency utilizing the latest technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA).*6
However, the objective of work style reform isn’t merely to increase job efficiency. The goal is to shift employees to more creative projects and generate innovative ideas by increasing work productivity. A company cannot hope to achieve sustained growth without creating new added value. NISSIN FOODS Products founder Momofuku Ando said, “People make a company. By people, I mean extraordinary people who can conceive, plan, and achieve groundbreaking creative things never seen before.” I hope and expect that the employees of the NISSIN FOODS Group will effectively utilize the personal time created through work reform and increased efficiency for sports activities to enhance health, activities to deepen wisdom and insight, and self-improvement and that they will grow into extraordinary people.
The term “EARTH FOOD CREATOR,” which expresses the NISSIN FOODS Group’s philosophy, is no mere slogan; it conveys our desire to “Create foods to serve society,” which was one of the principles of the founder.
To reach our 100th anniversary and, furthermore, to realize sustained corporate growth and a sustainable society for 100 years after that, the NISSIN FOODS Group will demonstrate responsibility over all the ways in which our business activities impact society and, in keeping with the spirit of the tenet “Create foods to serve society,” we will continue our quest to develop innovative new products and create new technologies.
- *1A new society that is the fifth in the history of the development of human society, following the hunter–gatherer society, agricultural society, industrial society, and information society
- *2The amount of feed grain expressed in calories necessary for the production of animal protein
- *3The estimated amount of water necessary for the production of agricultural produce and animal
- *4A non-profit membership organization that promotes the production and use of sustainable palm oil
- *5First among the 37 instant noodle manufacturers that are members of the Japan Convenience Foods Industry Association, based on NISSIN FOODS Holdings data (as of September 11, 2017)
- *6The concept of automating work by having robots perform routine tasks previously performed by human workers