Global sales of aspartame “decreased considerably” during the first quarter of Ajinomoto’s financial year, according to the company.
Posting results for the quarter ended June 30, the company reported that even sales of low calorie sweeteners for the Japanese retail and restaurant market decreased from the same period last year.
“Sales of aspartame, a sweetener, for the processing industry decreased considerably, impacted by a significant decline in sales volumes as well as foreign exchange rates,” the company said in a financial statement.
Sales of overseas food products increased slightly, reflecting growth in overseas sales of seasonings and processed foods. But a decrease in sales of Umami seasonings for processed food manufacturers drove operating income down by 14%.
Among other highlights, in Europe and Africa, sales of seasonings grew favourably overall, despite slight declines in West Africa. In Asia, sales remained steady, due to growth in sales volume of AJI-NO-MOTO and flavour seasonings. In the Americas sales fell as a result of the impact of exchange rates. Sales of flavour seasonings in South America also declined substantially from the previous first quarter period for the same reason.
Overseas, sales volumes of nucleotides increased significantly in Asia, but overall fell “substantially” from the previous first quarter. Exchange rate fluctuations again proved a factor, but a decline in sales volumes of AJI-NO-MOTO products for the food processing industry was also a factor, the business said.
For domestic food products, sales increased by 4%, driven by growth in seasonings, processed foods and frozen foods, but operating income decreased 14.4%.
Seasonings and processed food
Domestically, sales of seasonings and processed foods were strong, with sales of Ajinomoto’s Cook Do line; Chinese dashi products and consommé up significantly. Other winners included the company’s Activa enzyme, used to enhance food texture and quality, sales for which increased steadily over the same period in 2011.
The company reported that sales of delicatessen and bakery products had performed well, while beverage sales were steady.
In frozen food sales in the domestic market, winners included the firm’s Gyoza, Ebiyose Fry and rice products. Business expansion drove up foodservice sales. However, domestically sales of Puripuri-no-Ebi Shumai and Yawaraka Wakadori Kara-Age fell compared to the same period last year, although overall frozen food sales remained steady, having recovered from last year’s earthquake.
For the three months ending June 30, Ajinomoto reported net sales up 0.1% on the same period last year to 296.73m yen (€3m), but operating income down 11.1%, from 21.67m yen (€225,638) to 19.72m yen (€200,593). Net income fell by 28.1% from 13.94m yen (€145,040) to 10.02m yen (€104,316).
Aside from food products and ingredients, Ajinomoto is also active in the fields of bioscience, chemicals, animal feed and pharmaceuticals.