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About Meiji

At a Glance

At a Glance

Get to know Meiji at a glance – from our core business to our most important numbers.

photo of penicillin production

Growing Focus on Health

History

Throughout its history, the Meiji Group has always placed importance on creating nutritious food products. To support the healthy development of young children, the Group has been providing infant formulas since the 1920s. Aiming to contribute even more to people's health, the Group began producing penicillin and operating a pharmaceutical business in the 1940s. Since that time, it expanded the business by developing many new antibiotic products. Then from the 1970s, the Group focused on developing food products with additional health benefits.

From penicillin to pharmaceuticals

At this time, Meiji Group had built up expertise in lactose production through its food and dairy businesses. Since penicillin can be produced from lactose, the Group conducted research on penicillin production in the 1940s. Unfortunately its Kawasaki Plant, which was to produce the product, burned down during World War II. Determined, however, the Group recovered the needed apparatuses from the factory site and successfully produced penicillin in 1946.

In the years that followed, the Group acquired technologies from foreign pharmaceutical companies and the knowhow to develop and manufacture antibiotics and other drugs. By the 1950s, it had also developed agricultural chemicals and veterinary drugs in addition to pharmaceuticals. Some of these products were exported and earned a solid reputation outside Japan.

photo of penicillin production photo of Penicillin Meiji photo of a syrup bottle used to culture penicillin
photo of Penicillin Meinyu
1946

The Meiji Group began producing penicillin, launching its pharmaceutical business

photo of an old research center
1961

The Meiji Group established a basic research center to study antibiotics

photo of a plant growth regulator, Gibberellin
1961

The Meiji Group entered the agricultural chemicals market with its plant growth regulator, GIBBERELLIN

Providing essential nutrients to people through dairy products

From early on, the Meiji Group promoted milk not only as a beverage but also as an additional source of nutrients for infants and people receiving medical care. In 1932, the Meiji Group acquired the rights to sell the first domestically produced infant formula, Patrogen, which had been developed by a research organization in Japan. The Group then developed its own production technologies, enabling it to release its own brand, Soft Curd Meiji Infant Formula, in 1951. Besides providing infants with a needed source of nutrition, the Group used a heat-treatment process to reduce the milk curd content, making the product easier for infants to digest.

The Meiji Group began marketing its powdered milk products in other Asian countries. It has continued to optimize its infant formulas and improve their usability up to the present day. For example, it released the world's first infant formula featuring pre-portioned, fast-dissolving cubes in 2007.

photo of Soft Curd Meiji Infant Formula in 1951

From early on, the Meiji Group promoted milk not only as a beverage but also as an additional source of nutrients for infants and people receiving medical care. In 1932, the Meiji Group acquired the rights to sell the first domestically produced infant formula, Patrogen, which had been developed by a research organization in Japan. The Group then developed its own production technologies, enabling it to release its own brand, Soft Curd Meiji Infant Formula, in 1951. Besides providing infants with a needed source of nutrition, the Group used a heat-treatment process to reduce the milk curd content, making the product easier for infants to digest.

The Meiji Group began marketing its powdered milk products in other Asian countries. It has continued to optimize its infant formulas and improve their usability up to the present day. For example, it released the world's first infant formula featuring pre-portioned, fast-dissolving cubes in 2007.

  • photo of infant formula packages photo of infant formula packages
  • photo of infant formula packages photo of infant formula packages
  • photo of infant formula packages photo of infant formula packages

Meeting consumer demand for healthier foods

In the 1970s, demand for healthier food products increased in Japan as the population began aging and people's lifestyles became more diverse amid the country's economic growth. The Meiji Group responded by renewing its Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt with the addition of lactobacillus bulgaricus strain 51 (LB-51) bacteria in 1985. It also expanded its product lineup with an assortment of yogurt drinks.

Based on the results of research and development of even tastier yogurt, the Meiji Group launched a new product made with LB81 lactic acid bacteria in 1993. In 1996, the product was approved by the Japanese government as a food for specified health uses.

photo of Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt made with LB51 lactic acid bacteria
1985

Release of renewed Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt made with LB51 lactic acid bacteria

photo of Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt made with LB81 lactic acid bacteria
1993

Release of new plain yogurt made with LB81 lactic acid bacteria

Drawing on its knowledge of pharmaceuticals and expertise in food texture and flavor, the Meiji Group continued to develop products that could help consumers maintain their health. In 1980, the Group launched the Savas brand of protein supplements for athletes and sports enthusiasts, and in 1995, it released the VAAM brand of amino acid sports drinks. These products have remained essential for the training routines for all kinds of people engaged in sports and fitness.

photo of Savas products
1980

Release of the SAVAS brand of protein for athletes

photo of VAAM brand beverage
1995

Release of the VAAM brand of amino acid sports nutrition beverage

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