Kewpie's Founder Was Partially Inspired By Orange Marmalade

Step aside, Miracle Whip. Real Kewpie mayo fans know there's simply no substitute for the real thing. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern even uses Kewpie in his yuzu-chile sauce. According to the company's website, the taste of its mayonnaise – distinctive, rich, tangy, and umami-forward — is what sets Kewpie mayo apart from other types of mayonnaise on the market. The secret to its success is in its uniquely simple ingredients: a blend of egg yolks and vinegar. That's all there is to it, but the 12-month shelf life and iconic baby doll mascot don't hurt the product's enduring popularity, either.

Fans have been enjoying egg-heavy Kewpie mayo for nearly a century. In 1941, less than 20 years after releasing its mayo in 1925, Kewpie had already sold 500 tons — roughly 100,000 cases — of its signature product. By 1973, the company had topped the Tokyo Stock Exchange (via Kewpie).

The company has since churned out a wide array of non-mayo products, including baby food, canned meat sauce, and a variety of salad dressings. Kewpie Jyozo Co. has even been producing a type of vinegar exclusively used for making Kewpie mayo since 1962. But, there's another product that Kewpie founder Toichiro Nakashima was inspired to create — and we're not talking about eggs.

Orange you glad for Kewpie's inspiration?

Before launching Kewpie in 1919, Toichiro Nakashima was an intern for the Japan Department of Agriculture and Commerce. During his internship-motivated travels in the 1910s, not only did Nakashima cultivate an affinity for mayonnaise, but he also picked up a taste for orange marmalade, per Kewpie

In 1932, Kewpie released AOHATA Marmalade in conjunction with the Japanese-based Kidoen Corporation, which is now called the AOHATA Corporation and is still cranking out a wide array of fruit spreads. Then, in 1955, Kewpie launched the low-sugar AOHATA 55 Orange Marmalade — the first ever Japanese-made product of its kind to hit the market (via AOHATA).

Still, whether Kewpie or AOHATA sell it, orange marmalade remains a muse for the company. Kewpie even has a sector dedicated to its array of jams called the Fruit Solutions Business, and it cites orange marmalade as the original inspiration behind Kewpie's fruit-based vision. According to Kewpie, the Fruit Solutions Business sector accounted for 4.1% of Kewpie's total sales in the 2021 fiscal year.