||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (September 2012)|
|Traded as||TYO: 2802
|Founded||1917 (as S. Suzuki & Co. Ltd.)|
|Headquarters||Chūō, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Masatoshi Ito (President & Chief Executive Officer)|
|Products||seasonings, cooking oils, TV dinners, sweeteners, amino acids and pharmaceuticals|
Ajinomoto Co. Inc. (味の素株式会社, Ajinomoto Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese food and chemical corporation which produces seasonings, cooking oils, TV dinners, sweeteners, amino acids and pharmaceuticals. In particular it is the world's largest producer of aspartame, with a 40% global market share.
Monosodium glutamate 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
Ajinomoto’s main product, monosodium glutamate (MSG; グルタミン酸ナトリウム) seasoning, was first marketed in Japan in 1909, having been discovered and patented by Kikunae Ikeda. He found that the most important compound within seaweed broth for common use was actually a glutamate salt, which he identified with the taste umami, a word meaning 'pleasant taste' or 'savoriness'. As the simplest such salt for human consumption, the popularity of MSG helped the company rapidly expand to other countries, with Ajinomoto U.S.A., Inc. established in 1956.
Before the eventual publicity, the conglomerate was founded on Ikeda's work: it was the first to suggest that industrially purified glutamic acid salts, residues or analogues, originally found in seaweed or dried fish-based broth, might have a characteristic taste of its own. That idea was rapidly connected to the much older Japanese, culinary term of umami. This led to early adoption of MSG as a culinary agent in Japan.
Lysine price-fixing conspiracy 
Ajinomoto was a member of the Lysine price fixing cartel in the mid-1990s. Along with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, and Sewon America Inc., Ajinomoto settled with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in September 1996. Each firm and one executive from each pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain to aid in further investigation. Their cooperation led to Archer Daniels Midland settling charges with the US Government in October 1996 for $100 million, a record antitrust fine at the time. The cartel had been able to raise Lysine prices 70% within their first six months of cooperation.
Lawsuit against supermarket chain Asda 
In 2008, Ajinomoto sued British supermarket chain Asda, part of Wal-Mart, for a malicious falsehood action concerning its aspartame product when the chemical was listed as excluded from the chain's product line along with other "nasties". In July 2009, a British court found in favour of Asda. In June 2010, an appeal court reversed the decision, allowing Ajinomoto to pursue a case against Asda to protect aspartame's reputation. At that time, Asda said that it would continue to use the term "no nasties" on its own-label products, however, the suit was settled out of court in 2011 after Asda removed references to aspartame from its packaging.
Trademarks and personnel 
AJI-NO-MOTO is registered as a trademark in Indonesia and Thailand.
- Ajinomoto USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Includes Ajinomoto North America LLC that provides amino acid products and services to a number of manufacturing and research industries.
- In the UK, it is produced through Britannia Pharmaceuticals Limited, a UK-based subsidiary.
- On January 13, 2006, the company bought the cooking sauce and condiments manufacturer Amoy Food Limited previously owned by French dairy product company Danone.
See also 
- Ajinomoto Stadium
- Monosodium glutamate
- Motoko-chan no Wonder Kitchen, a mid-1990s Super Famicom video game that advertises the company's then-current products
- "Ajinomoto May Exceed Full-Year Forecasts on Amino Acid Products — Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
- "A Short History of MSG - Good Science, Bad Science, and Taste Cultures ." Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. Retrieved on November 20, 2011.
- "Toward the realization of "Ajinomoto Group Zero Emissions" Chuo Ace Logistics Corporation achieves "Green Management Certification" Chuo Ace Logistics Corporation promotes environmentally friendly logistics." Ajinomoto. Retrieved on February 12, 2010.
- "Sweetener sale-05/06/2000-ECN". www.icis.com. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- Meredith E. B. Bell and Elena Laskin, "Antitrust Violations", 36 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 357.
- James M. Griffin, Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen., Antitrust Div., Dep't of Justice, The Modern Leniency Program After Ten Years: A Summary Overview of the Antitrust Division's Criminal Enforcement Program, Aug. 12, 2003.
- "Asda gears up for additives battle/ aspartame". www.thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Text " This is Money " ignored (help)
- "Asda claims victory in aspartame ‘nasty’ case". www.foodanddrinkeurope.com. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
- "FoodBev.com". www.foodbev.com. Retrieved 2010-06-23. Text " Court of Appeal rules in Ajinomoto/Asda aspartame case " ignored (help)
- "Radical new twist in Ajinomoto vs Asda 'nasty' battle". www.foodnavigator.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
- Bouckley, Ben (May 18, 2011). "Asda settles 'nasty' aspartame legal battle with Ajinomoto". William Reed Business Media SAS. AP-FoodTechnongy.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Uranaka, Taiga (2008-04-09). "Ajinomoto chairman Kunio Egashira, 70, dies". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- Ajinomoto AminoScience homepage, visited February 2, 2010
- "Ajinomoto Aspartame".