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Kenmin to enter U.S. market with rice vermicelli

The Yomiuri ShimbunKenmin Foods Co. has said it will enter the U.S. market in September with a gluten-free rice vermicelli.

Kenmin is known for its Yaki Be-fun rice vermicelli. It decided to make a full-fledged entry into the United States given the increasing interest there in avoiding the wheat protein gluten.

The company’s rice vermicelli is produced by steaming and drying mashed rice, and seasoned with such ingredients as pork and chicken extract. Kobe-based Kenmin Foods sells the rice vermicelli as one of its main products.

It can be cooked just by heating the rice noodles with various ingredients and water in a frying pan.

The United States imposes import restrictions on food containing meat extract, so the firm has not been able to sell the same product there as in Japan. Therefore, Kenmin took a year to modify the product to U.S. specifications, using bonito and kombu seaweed extract for seasoning.

The company plans to sell Yaki Be-fun at supermarkets for about $2 a bag, and aims to sell 1 million packages in fiscal 2020.

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