Our Story

Sugiyo finds its beginnings on the Noto peninsula of Japan. Three hundred years ago, an innovative young man named Yosaku Sugino recognized that the homemade surimi seafood used by the local fishermen and crabbers was what we call a “Superfood” today.    This flavorful ready-to-eat seafood blend sustained the fisherman with high protein while they worked marathon sessions of seafood fishing. To get his business started, young Sugino established a small plant and hired local people to produce this seafood and make it available to everyone.  People loved this seafood, which they called kamaboko, and they loved this small company. To create the company name, Sugino combined the first letters of his last and first name and called this company Sugiyo.

old_plant_sepiaPeople still comment to this day that Sugino always knew every one of his many employees and their families by name and worked among them to make kamaboko.  Led by Sugino’s passion for creating new foods from the sea, his team established a reputation of being the innovators of seafood. This family company had a passionate mission to create high quality innovative seafood.

Sugiyo Company continued to grow under the leadership of successive generations of Sugino’s who all shared the original spirit of innovation and quality.  Sugiyo was always a quiet company relying not on marketing and publicity but on the quality and value of their seafood to sell throughout Japan, Asia and beyond.  Notably, Sugiyo was the first company to develop crab-flavored seafood and to offer this product to the North American market.

In the 1980’s, a young Tetsuya Sugino was preparing to take his place as the new leader of Sugiyo. This young Sugino had the same industrious creativity and passion for seafood as his predecessors but he possessed a new quality – he had a modern global view.

old_plant_bwAfter visiting the United States and seeing the growing popularity of Sugiyo’s surimi seafood, Tetsuya Sugino knew that the first global step for Sugiyo was to establish a North American company to supply the growing demand for Sugiyo products.  Knowing the background and success of Sugiyo Co., Ltd. in Japan, many governors and business leaders eagerly invited Sugiyo to establish a plant in their states; but, Sugino knew he must find a location with close access to the best wild seafood, fresh clean water and people with a passion for seafood.

Sugino found all he was looking for in the small fishing port of Anacortes, Washington.  Located on a northern island in the Puget Sound, connected to the mainland by an arching bridge and with a breathtaking view of the snowcapped Cascade Mountains – Anacortes looked amazingly like the location of Sugiyo in Nanao, Japan.  Sugino planned to source all of the fish and crab from Alaska.   And, as a plus, many of the fishermen who fished the Alaska waters moored their vessels in Anacortes.

old_plant_paperOut of its U.S. facility, Sugiyo gave the world the next generation of surimi-based seafood known worldwide as Alaskan Snow Legs®.  Alaskan Snow Legs® is known for being a close merus meat replica, with the fiber pattern of real crab.  It became Sugiyo’s top selling product on the international market.

In starting Sugiyo U.S.A., Inc., Sugino hired only local individuals and brought over Japanese specialists to train them in the production methods of Sugiyo Co., Ltd. and to teach the Sugiyo values of quality and family in the operation of producing the best surimi seafood for North America.  Sugino later received recognition for creating a dynamic team with ethnic diversity to include employees of all age ranges, special needs and a balance of men and women in top management positions.  After 30 years, many of those same core employees are still with Sugiyo U.S.A. producing with pride the highest quality surimi seafood in the world.


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