There may be other brands of mayonnaise in Japan, but KEWPIE is the Japanese mayonnaise. With its iconic baby logo, KEWPIE is a smoother, creamier, and tangier mayonnaise compared to Western brands, such as Hellmann’s. It’s made with egg yolks only, as opposed to whole eggs, and with rice vinegar rather than distilled vinegar. The ingredients list also includes unidentified “spice”. Its flavor is slightly sweet, yet umami, thanks to MSG.
Mayonnaise was first introduced to Japan in 1925 after KEWPIE founder, Toichiro Nakashima, discovered the condiment in the US. Mayonnaise isn’t considered a “health food” these days, but Nakashima had originally hoped to create a high-quality, nutritious mayonnaise to help Japanese people improve their physique. They launched the first KEWPIE mayonnaise in a glass jar in 1925. In that first year, they only shipped 600kg of product, but by the following year, the volume had increased to 7 tons. The company stopped producing KEWPIE mayonnaise in 1943 due to the difficulties of sourcing quality ingredients during World War II, but they resumed production in 1948.
Today, KEWPIE mayonnaise – in its modern plastic squeeze bottles – is a staple condiment in households all over Japan and loved by professional chefs and home cooks alike across the world.