The Untold Story of Sushi in America
Written by tokyoclub on November 6, 2021
They did. Today a business they grew and shaped is arguably America’s only nationwide fresh-seafood company of any kind. It specializes in sushi, and its name is True World Foods.
Yashiro spent many years as True World’s president, overseeing an operation that now includes branches in 17 states (and Britain, Canada, Japan, Korea and Spain). It distributes not only fish and shellfish — more than 40 salmon and salmon-roe products, five species of Japanese sea bream — but also eel sauce, knives, exotic citrus, mochi ice cream bonbons and virtually every other input a sushi chef might need.
According to Robert Bleu, the president of its parent conglomerate, the True World Group, in its current fiscal year True World Foods has sold to more than 8,300 clients in the United States and Canada, overwhelmingly sushi restaurants. Its Japanese subsidiary is on track to export more than a million kilograms of fresh fish to the United States in 2021. In many cities, Bleu says, True World sells to between 70 and 80 percent of midrange and high-end sushi restaurants; the group’s annual revenues typically exceed $500 million. The pandemic, of course, wasn’t typical, but “sushi was a big winner in Covid, because sushi is a great takeout food if done right,” Bleu told me recently. “We’re actually doing our strongest sales in history.”
One of Moon’s daughters, In Jin Moon, once asked in a sermon whether their movement really made a difference. “In an incredible way, we did,” she said: Her father created True World Foods. “When he initiated that project,” she went on, “nobody knew what sushi was or what eating raw fish was about.” Moon, she concluded, “got the world to love sushi.” Or as she put it on a different occasion, “My father’s work is already in their body.”