West Sacramento’s Food Hub Attracts Japanese Food Producer

Shinmei Co., Ltd. and Shinmei U.S.A. Corporation, and the City of West Sacramento announce the expansion of Shinmei’s global food production and distribution facilities in West Sacramento, the company’s first processing facility in the United States. Sacramento based Potter-Taylor & Company together with the MacLaughlin Company and global management consultants, Victus Partners, will construct the 28,000 square foot building on six acres in West Sacramento’s Southport Business Park.

Oct. 25, Pictured left to right: City Manager Martin Tuttle; Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; and Darrell Steinberg, President Pro Tem, State Senate

The new facility, which is expected to open its doors in June 2014, will produce Shinmei’s “Rice Bun”, a value-added rice product positioned as a gluten-free alternative burger bun. The product is firmly established and sold in many global markets, including Australia, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. The debut of the “Rice Bun” in the United States’ retail and food service markets parallels the rapidly growing number of American consumers moving towards gluten-free diets. Shinmei is offering a healthy choice replacement for many gluten products. The “Rice Bun” is GMO free, conveniently microwavable, and versatile—it can be made from brown or white rice, and organic or non-organic, with multiple flavors.

The expansion into the U.S. market creates considerable value for the Sacramento region. Shinmei is investing over $10 million in the new facility, which will employ 100+ permanent jobs in Phase 1 and increase up to 500 positions in the near future. In addition, the “Rice Bun’s” primary raw material —rice—will be sourced locally from Sacramento region farmers.

“We will bring Japanese rice processing technology to California,” said Mitsuzo Fujio, President of Shinmei U.S.A. “Our goal is to build relationships with the agricultural sector by collaborating with local rice farmers, integrating our ‘Rice Bun’ product into the U.S. market, and streamlining our entire process from beginning to end. We hope that through our ‘Rice Bun’ product, American people can enjoy rice, Japan’s most treasured commodity, as a key part of their everyday meals.”

“Food production is a major component in the global economy. West Sacramento has the location and transportation modes which provide businesses a foundation to succeed,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “From West Sacramento, businesses are producing and shipping product around the world.”

A collaborative effort helped promote Shinmei on the benefits of West Sacramento. Assisting the City of West Sacramento was the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO) and Ridge Capital, Inc., a Northern California-based real estate investment and development firm, which manages the Southport Business Park.

“We welcome Shinmei U.S.A. to the growing community of food-related companies in the Sacramento region, America’s farm-to-fork capital,” said SACTO Chair, Gary Bradus, shareholder with Weintraub Tobin. “We are honored that Shinmei has chosen West Sacramento in which to locate its new U.S. headquarters and production facility.”

Shinmei, U.S.A. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Shinmei Co., Ltd. For over one hundred years, Shinmei Japan has been one of the country’s largest rice millers and distributors. The company also runs a factory in Japan that produces and distributes cooked-rice products, and has an affiliate company, Genki Sushi, a popular chain of over 200 sushi restaurants in Japan and around the world. Shinmei hopes to bring its experience and rice industry knowledge to the U.S., sharing the virtues of rice and rice products with American consumers.

West Sacramento’s strategic location is helping build its reputation in the region’s global food industry cluster. In 2013, Japan’s Nippon Shokken, Norway’s Tomra Sorting Solutions, and Germany’s Bayer CropScience have opened or are building new facilities within the city. West Sacramento is already home to several food industry businesses including Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Nor-Cal Beverage, and Tony’s Fine Foods.

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