Morinaga America, Inc., Makers of HI-CHEW™ Announce New CEO
Posted on January 20, 2022
The new year welcomes new leadership for the Morinaga America team with Teruhiro Kawabe
(IRVINE, Calif.) January 20, 2022— Morinaga America, Inc. (MAI), the official distributor of HI-CHEW™, has announced that tenured Morinaga executive Teruhiro Kawabe (Terry) has been appointed President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MAI as of this month. Kawabe will focus on increasing manufacturing and distribution of MAI products, as well as, leading the marketing team to increase awareness and purchase intent for MAI brands across North and South America markets. With this shift at the executive level, former MAI CEO Mr. Masanori Yasunaga is taking the position of Chairman of the Board. In this role, Yasunaga will oversee the MAI business, as well as Morinaga America Foods (MAF), the manufacturer of HI-CHEW.
Kawabe has worked with Morinaga for over 30 years, previously serving as President and CEO of Morinaga Asia Pacific (MAP) in Bangkok, Thailand. During his tenure with MAP, Kawabe grew the HI-CHEW™ brand’s distribution footprint throughout New Zealand and Australia, tripling the sales volume in just three years. This new role as President, CEO of MAI is Kawabe’s second working on growing the HI-CHEW brand in the U.S., as he previously held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from 2012 to 2016. During that time, he introduced HI-CHEW™ to the mainstream market through distribution expansion in the grocery, food, drug, mass, and convenience channels of trade.
“I’m very excited to be back in the United States again working with MAI on this special brand,” said Terry, President, CEO of Morinaga America, Inc. “This will be a huge year of growth for our company as we look forward to introducing new products to our HI-CHEW™ portfolio, as well as launching additional Morinaga brands into the U.S. market. We want to continue to deliver new and unique flavors that we know our consumers will enjoy.”
Morinaga America, Inc is the official distributor of HI-CHEW™, the immensely fruity, intensely chewy candy, in the United States. The company was first established in Torrance, California in 2008. After continued growth and expansion, Morinaga America Foods (MAF) opened as a manufacturing plant in Mebane, North Carolina in 2015 to help keep up with the growing demand in the U.S. market. HI-CHEW™ has a passion for flavor innovation and continues to conduct extensive research to develop new products, with exciting innovations on the horizon this year.
HI-CHEW™ products are available in sticks, peg bags, and stand-up pouches in a variety of mouthwatering flavors. To learn more about HI-CHEW™, please visit us online at HI-CHEW.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram (@HICHEWUSA) and Twitter (@HICHEW).
About Morinaga America, Inc.:
Established in 2008, Morinaga America, Inc. is the official distributor of HI-CHEW™ in the United States. With over 200 flavors of HI-CHEW™ having debuted in Japan, Morinaga America, Inc. has introduced the United States market to the best of Japanese confectionery. Morinaga America, Inc. (marketing and sales) and Morinaga America Foods, Inc. (manufacturing) are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Morinaga & Co., Ltd., which began in 1899 as the first, modern candy maker and producer of chocolates in Japan. In 2015, Morinaga & Co. Ltd. opened its first United States manufacturing facility in North Carolina.
The history of Morinaga stretches back over a century when company founder Taichiro Morinaga brought his candy-making skills to Japan from America in the 1800s. HI-CHEW™ has long been the best-selling soft candy in Japan and continues to see year-over-year growth throughout other parts of Asia and in the United States. In the United States, HI-CHEW™ is currently offered in sticks, peg bags, and stand-up pouches. The HI-CHEW sticks come in a variety of flavors including Strawberry, Green Apple, Mango, Grape, Banana, Kiwi, Açaí, and Sweet & Sour Watermelon. HI-CHEW™ also offers peg bags in the following flavors: Original Mix, Tropical Mix, Superfruit Mix, Sweet & Sour Mix, Fruit Combos Mix, Soda Pop Mix, Berry Mix, and Plus Fruit. The Stand-Up Pouches are available in Original Mix, Tropical Mix, and Fruit Combos. HI-CHEW™ is made with concentrated fruit juices and is free of gluten and cholesterol, with no colors from synthetic sources. HI-CHEW™ continues to expand fruity, chewy flavor offerings annually. In 2020, HI-CHEW™ won a Nielsen Design Impact Award for its new Original Mix packaging update that hit shelves in 2019. For more information, visit HI-CHEW.com.