Osaka is home to numerous food manufacturers. Building on the knowledge and techniques concerning aromas and flavors accumulated by the pharmaceutical industry, the Westernization of the dinner table from the second half of the 19th century onwards generated a whole new business.
Mr. Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory, had worked for an Osaka wholesale merchant dealing in medicines. In 1907, he launched Akadama Port Wine, a port wine that suited the Japanese palate based on Spanish wines. Mr. Seisuke Urakami, who established House Foods Corporation, started researching how to make curry from the spices used in medicines, and introduced instant curry powder in 1926. Mr. Riichi Ezaki, founder of Ezaki Glico, had the idea of using glycogen in snacks. Glycogen is a substance found in oysters, which are highly nutritious. After much hard work, in 1921 he created Glico, a nutritious caramel-flavored candy.
These business entrepreneurs started from the desire to enliven the Japanese diet, and for this purpose they proactively adopted new technologies. Mr. Komakichi Torii, who founded Asahi Breweries, set up a brewery by importing the latest technologies from Germany, and launched a Japanese-made beer to suit the Japanese palate in 1892.
Mr. Momofuku Ando, who established Nissin Food Products, began research on noodles that could be stored for long periods and easily cooked. In 1958 he created the world's first instant noodles (“Chicken Ramen”), which only needed hot water poured over them to be ready to eat.