By Rob McAllister

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In a region suffering from double digit unemployment, a little relief is on the way as a Japanese spice and sauce company opens a brand new plant in West Sacramento.

One of the world’s largest sauce and spice manufactures isn’t just opening its first West Coast plant, but a U.S. headquarters. And with it, Nippon Shokken brings hundreds of jobs.

“Having a production facility, a distribution facility, but also the North American headquarters for one of Japan’s largest food companies, and their fastest growing food companies is a huge deal for our region,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

After 18 months of construction, the plant is now open; and Nippon Shokken is getting ready to hire 400 people to run it.

“They’re all along the lines, so it’s manufacturing of the sauces and spices. It’s (research and development), quality testing, accountants and (human resources) professionals, as well as the executives and managers for the North American headquarters,” said Cabaldon.

Through an interpreter, the company’s chairman says they chose West Sacramento because of the port, freeways and access to agriculture. Those three things will allow the company to grow across all 50 states.

“We’d like to expand more and more, and to expand our taste to all over the U.S.,” said Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa.

Nippon Shokken is one of the first such plants to open, but now more food companies are set to follow.

“They are starting to cluster. These kinds of companies like to be next to each other, and so we are already seeing companies from Europe as well as Japan and Korea who want to relocate here as well,” said Cabaldon.

With neighboring fields ready for development, Nippon Shokken is already looking at expansion — one that will cost upwards of $200 million that mirrors a plant in Tokyo.

“We’d like to make it about three times or four times bigger than it is now,” said Ozawa.

That means hundreds of more jobs coming to West Sacramento in the next several years. While no plans have been submitted yet, it does appear the company is on track to be one of the largest in the area.

If you are interested in a job with the company, contact the Yolo County Employment Department.

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