Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

Our History

The Story of Ajinomoto

The Ajinomoto story began in 1908 when scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda discovered that the amino acid found in traditional Japanese seaweed soup (also called dashi), L-glutamic acid, is the source of umami – the savory, fifth taste found in many foods. This discovery led to the founding of Ajinomoto Co. and the introduction of the world’s first umami seasoning, monosodium glutamate. The Ajinomoto Group continued to pioneer amino acid research and create solutions supporting numerous industries to help people eat well and live well. Decades later, Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition was established to bring these amino acid-based solutions to people in North America. Through a focus on research and product development and a dedication to human health, our company has become a trusted supplier of foods, medical foods, food ingredients, amino acids and supplements.

Dr. Kikunae Ikeda

Dr. Kikunae Ikeda

Important Moments in our Company Story

Since its founding in 1908, the Ajinomoto Group continues to action the corporate message of "Eat Well, Live Well" by exploring the potential of amino acids in every aspect of life. We have highlighted key points in our company's 110-year history here, but for more information on the full Ajinomoto Group company timeline, visit here.

1908 – The discovery of umami by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda
1909 – Ajinomoto Co. is established by launching the world’s first umami seasoning: AJI-NO-MOTO®
1917 – Ajinomoto Co Inc. opens New York office
1956 – Ajinomoto U.S.A., an affiliate of Ajinomoto Co., is established to expand solutions to the North American market
1982 – Ajinomoto U.S.A. opens Raleigh, NC plant to manufacture amino acids for many North American industries
1980's – Ajinomoto Group scientists discover kokumi, a flavor sensation that creates harmony and roundness in foods
1981 – Ajinomoto Group launches aspartame - the revolutionary and great-tasting sweetener
1984 – Heartland Lysine (now a part of the Solutions & Ingredients Division of Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition) is established
1986 – Heartland Lysine’s Eddyville, Iowa plant begins operations to manufacture feed-grade amino acids for animal nutrition
1993 – Ajinomoto U.S.A.’s Eddyville, Iowa plant begins operations to manufacture food ingredients for the food & beverage and foodservice industries
1998 – Advantame invented as a new high-potency sweetener and flavor enhancer
1999 – Ajinomoto Group starts aspartame business directly with global customers
2000 – Heartland Lysine, Inc. becomes Ajinomoto Heartland
2000 – Umami taste receptor is discovered & umami is established as the 5th taste
2011 – Ajinomoto U.S.A. changes its name to Ajinomoto North America, Inc.
2017 – Ajinomoto North America, Inc. moves headquarters to Itasca, IL
2017 – Ajinomoto Cambrooke, Inc., a medical food company, is established
2018 – Ajinomoto North America, Inc. changes name to Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.
2019 – Ajinomoto forms a strategic partnership with More Than Gourmet, Inc., a stock and broth concentrate company
2020 – Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition North America, Inc., an Ajinomoto affiliated business focused on feed-grade amino acid manufacturing, becomes part of Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.
2020 – AJISWEET™ Natural Sweeteners line launches. The new brand bridges the gap between sugar-like taste and clean label
2021 – Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition opens new headquarters in Itasca, IL with virtually optimized Customer Engagement Center