June 04, 2015

04/06/2015: An interview with Kazuyuki Kihara, Senior Managing Director, Satake

First published in Milling and Grain, March 2015
I would like to start with your history - Over the years Satake has won many awards such as Blue Ribbon and the Order of the Rising Sun. I understand the Emperor gave the latter? Are there any other awards Satake are working towards? 

The highest prize we have been given was from the Emperor. It was given for the contribution Satake made to advancements in technology for over a century. It was not given just to the president and CEO, but to the whole company. This was a company wide award. 

What new innovations are you looking at?
At its founding, Satake developed the machinery for the production of sake. As you probably know only the very centre of the rice is used for making sake, the outside is waste.  Before Satake developed and engineered the machinery for the production of sake, it was all milled by hand.  So Satake tried to modernise this process with the invention of the first power driven rice milling machine.

So we now take care of many different types of grains, but for the purpose of this conversation I will focus on rice. The biggest function of the rice mill in the past was to produce milled rice.  However as the economy grew, the needs of the consumer changed and whiter rice was less important and no longer the key, because people began looking towards the functionality or taste of rice.

So we had to find solutions and develop machinery to meet the demands of the diversity of the market.  

From its foundation Satake was a producer of sake machinery.  Only the centre of the rice is used for sake.  This was milled by hand. Satake innovated the automation of the milling process.

One of the innovations with respect to functionality concerns GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). Our latest technology is able to enrich the GABA from the rice, nothing is added, and this is 100 percent natural.

So each country in the world has different consumer demands and therefore different priorities. Examples of their priorities are:

  1. Quantities or Yield, this is the most important priority for a developing country as many people are starving and need feeding.
  2. Appearance, for many milled rice is better. 
  3. Then as I have already said, palatability and taste functionality is what is demanded in more modern societies.
We have installed rice mills in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar in recent years.  These countries are still very much focused on yield and appearance, they are not focused on functionality, taste or palatability.  Their priority is to supply enough rice to the population.
On Wednesday you will go to a rice mill near Tokyo, during your visit you will see no polishing machinery just to improve the appearance of the rice.  Here in Japan the appearance is taken for granted. 

Japan is now more focused on factors such as functionality, taste, palatability and of course not forgetting safety and reliability which contributes towards peace of mind.
These are the advancements in technology we have made with rice. 

Our advancement in England in 1991 just after our purchase of Henry Simon and Thomas Robinson is part of our strategy to expand our product from just rice to the other grain and flours, particularly wheat flour.

We are proud that we have been able to take our rice technology and enhance it for the wheat flour milling industry. The traditional wheat milling process is a gradual system of grinding, purification and sieving to separate flour from bran, but our technology the PeriTec is debranning, so it just removes the outer bran layers of the wheat kernel bran and this is a break through in the wheat flour milling industry.

The wheat industry has gradually accepted and adopted these de-branning advancements.


Read the magazine HERE.

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which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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