Sun Noodle adds S&S Saimin to its product line
Itoen (USA) sells the division to focus on its other products
S&S Saimin has been sold to H&U Inc., a Kalihi-based company doing business as Sun Noodle, resulting in very little change for faithful saimin consumers. Sun Noodle, which manufactures approximately 30 types of noodles, bought the division of Itoen (USA) Inc. for an undisclosed amount that included all manufacturing equip- ment. Rights to the brand name S&S Saimin were also part of the deal that will close at the end of June.
"It's just great to take over the famous saimin and add it to our existing production," said Pakao Morioka, general manager of Sun Noodle.
He anticipates continuity with existing S&S Saimin clients because "we are not going to change any recipe yet."
But Morioka acknowledged that the company may eventually experiment with new flavors if it sees potential to improve the taste.
S&S Saimin has been in Hawaii since 1963, according to Itoen Vice President Leighton Horiuchi. Itoen acquired it in 1987.
S&S Saimin is available at most major supermarkets, as well as at Aloha Stadium and the Neal Blaisdell Arena during special events.
Itoen solicited the sale in an effort to focus on its core beverage business, which includes Aloha Maid Juices and unsweetened green teas. In the coming fiscal year, Horiuchi predicts the company will introduce 50 new items in a variety of product areas. Two flavors will be added to its green tea line in the next two weeks: Aloha Maid Green Tea Muscat Grape and Green Tea with Passion Orange.
Ten employees work in Itoen's saimin and soup division, Horiuchi confirmed. But he feels confident Itoen will be able to place everyone in different departments within the company.
Last week Itoen issued the required 60-day notice of partial closing on July 21 through the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The report also said that if partial closure of business operations occurs earlier than July 21, Itoen will pay its employees and provide benefits through the closing date.
"Green tea is definitely a huge trend," said Horiuchi. "It's kind of taking the U.S. by storm. Itoen Japan is the largest purveyor of green tea in the world. Our whole heritage has been green tea, so our desire is to focus all of our energies and assets there."