Wakunaga of America
Wakunaga of America dominates the garlic supplement market share with its unique Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™ formulas and looks to expand into Germany.
Wakunaga of America has dedicated the past 60 years to the research and development of Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™ (AGE) to deliver natural and beneficial products that contribute to improving people’s health. “There is no other company in the world that is making AGE and no one can make the same product,” President and CEO Kazuhiko Nomura says.
Wakunaga of America has been serving the world for 47 years from its U.S. headquarters in Mission Viejo, Calif., and the parent company, Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in Japan, has been in business for 64 years. The Wakunaga group was founded in 1955 by Manji Wakunaga.
Dr. Eugene Schnell, a former professor at Berlin University, contributed to the company in its early years. He had immigrated to Japan in the 1930s to build a Japanese chemical company’s technical foundation. After World War II, he headed the Drug Administration of Japan, which led to his belief that the Japanese people needed basic natural nutrition to regain their physical strength and protect themselves from adverse post-war health conditions.
In 1954, Schnell met Wakunaga who believed the pharmaceutical industry was obligated to devote itself to research and development rather than misleading advertising. The two men joined forces to develop natural and beneficial products, and to market those products with truthful information.
In 1955, Wakunaga founded Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co. in Osaka, Japan. Shortly after, Schnell came up with an idea of aging garlic, which resulted in a unique AGE preparation. In 1972, Manji Wakunaga and his son, Gisuke Wakunaga, established Wakunaga of America to distribute AGE under the Kyolic brand to Americans and health conscious people around the world.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is the subject of more than 840 peer-reviewed scientific publications. The production of Kyolic odorless AGE begins with garlic grown organically in California without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. The company’s garlic crop is cultivated with time-tested procedures to enhance its beneficial constituents and crop rotation practices are used to insure that the farmlands are sustainable for years to come.
The unique aging process applied in manufacturing AGE distinguishes Kyolic from other garlic products available on the market. Freshly harvested organic garlic is cleansed and diced in Wakunaga’s facilities and put into stainless steel tanks for aging. The bio-conversion process takes up to 20 months to convert raw garlic’s harsh and irritating compounds into safe, stable and beneficial ones.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is sold through specialty retailers and natural food stores. “Just by looking at the product, it’s difficult to understand,” Nomura says. “We ask retailers to explain how AGE works for the body and introduce the results of many studies.”
Kyolic currently enjoys a more than 60 percent share of the garlic supplement market in the United States. It is also marketed in more than 30 other international markets. The organization is continuously evaluating new markets to enter with Germany being the current target market.
Wakunaga also has been a long-term manufacturer and marketer of probiotics in the United States and for export to international markets. Its Kyo-Dophilus brand of probiotics was one of the early pioneers of the probiotic market, having been introduced more than 30 years ago – long before the probiotics reached the popularity they hold today.
In keeping with its foundation of putting truthful information on its labels, the company recently updated its packaging to make the health benefits easier to understand. “Now, when consumers come to retailers they see the front of the box and can understand almost everything,” Nomura says. “Everything is written out – what it is effective for, how many strains it has, who this product is for and that it’s non-GMO, gluten- and dairy-free. We are always considering what packages are good and more convenient for our consumers.”
“Our vision is to sell to every country in the world and achieve our mission to contribute to the health of the world’s people through the delivery of effective, scientifically studied products featuring our unique technologies,” Nomura says.