Q and A with Kikkoman’s Debbie Carpenter

Well known for its naturally brewed soy sauce and teriyaki, Kikkoman is now producing Indian and Thai sauces that allow restaurants to easily create authentic curries and other Asian specialties. Debbie Carpenter, senior marketing manager, Foodservice & Industrial, at
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc., talks about the new line of sauces.

Q. What trends are you following in developing products?

A. We’re paying more attention to emerging Asian regional cuisines and becoming more country specific. Indian and Southeast Asia are a focus now. In March, we rolled out a line of ready-to-use sauces, including Thai Red Curry, Thai Yellow Curry and Tikka Masala. We also just introduced ponzu—a soy sauce blended with citrus juices (lemon or lime) that is great with salad dressings and seafood.

Q. How do these sauces add value to the menu?

A. The flavor profiles are geared to the American palate, so the sauces can be cross-utilized in a number of applications. They can be used “as is” or serve as a base that a chef can customize through the addition of other ingredients. You only need a small amount to enhance a dish.

Q. What should operators look for when purchasing Asian sauces?

A. Our soy sauce comes in sizes to fit every need and application—from a tabletop dispenser to a 4-gallon bag-in-box and economy-sized bucket. Choose the one that best fits your operation. The half-gallon containers come six to a case and are easy to handle and a good value. Our new ready-to-use Asian sauces come in 4-lb. 5-oz. plastic bottles. Products packed in glass have a 3-year shelf life and those in plastic can be stored for 1½ years.

Q. Are you planning any other product introductions?

A. Our new Katsu is coming out shortly. This apple-based sauce is primarily used with Japanese-style breaded pork tenderloin (tonkatsu), but we see it having multiple uses on the menu. It can enhance other meats and poultry as well as sandwiches.

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