Biography

BIOGRAPHY

Established in 2022 by first-generation Japanese entrepreneur, Mika Shino, Issei Mochi Gummies embraces the ancient Japanese tradition of mochi, a beloved rice-based treat with centuries of history. Mochi Gummies redefines snacking, offering unparalleled purity as one of the cleanest snacks ever developed. Suitable for a wide range of lifestyles, these gummies are meticulously crafted to meet the highest standards of dietary inclusivity. It is shelf-stable, vegan, kosher, and free of gluten, dairy, soy and nuts. Most importantly, these delicious, chewy treats are crafted with a commitment to all-natural ingredients — devoid of GMOs, animal-derived gelatin, and artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. The first of its kind, Issei Mochi Gummies debuted exclusively with Whole Foods Market in September 2022. Stocking the shelves in 192 stores across the U.S., it repeatedly sold out in many locations and quickly became the #2 best selling single-serving chewy candy. Now, the gummies are readily accessible on Amazon and at Raley's, Hy-Vee, Bestie's Vegan Paradise, The World Bank, and The Compass Group. Available flavors include Strawberry, Mango, and Vanilla, with more to come in 2024. Recognized for its commitment to excellence, Issei Mochi Gummies was nominated for Best of 2022 Nosh Award, named 2022 Disruptor and Innovator of the Year by Washington Life Magazine and became a Finalist as Best New Sweet Snack 2023 for the Nexty Awards at ExpoWest. Issei’s mission is simple: to innovate better food options for a happier, healthier life, ensuring everyone can enjoy delicious snacks that align with their values. Issei Mochi Gummies began as a simple homemade snack that Mika was making for her kids and friends. Weary of the ingredients in the various gummy snacks and candies her children often asked for, Mika sought to create a snack that did not have excessive sugar, artificial flavors, chemical stabilizers, and animal byproducts. The more she learned about how gelatin was the foundation of most chewy snacks, and the more she learned where gelatin came from (boiled animal skin), the more she was convinced that there had to be better options for treats. So she created a simple, pure, and natural snack — small bite-sized versions of the mochi treat she grew up with in Japan — infused with natural flavors. Her kids loved it. Their friends loved it. And Mochi Gummies were born. Issei, a woman-owned and minority-owned company, is driven by a mission of innovation and cultural heritage. The term “Issei” means ‘first generation Japanese immigrants in the U.S.’ — symbolizing the earnest hope of immigrants who bring the best of their heritage to their newfound home. The company's goal is to create innovative, health-conscious, and delectable foods that pay homage to Japanese heritage while fostering a vibrant community united by shared values. Issei is dedicated to infusing diversity and inclusion into the food sector, building bridges across cultures through the universal language of food.

WHAT IS MOCHI?

Mochi is an ancient Japanese snack, and has been in the food culture of Japan since 14,000-300 B.C.. It is possibly the cleanest confection ever created, traditionally made with pounded rice and spring water, and often filled with red Azuki bean paste. It is a food for celebrations, gatherings and expressions of gratitude. It was and still is a celebratory event of communities gathering folks to watch quick, rhythmic pounding of rice into warm, soft pillows of chewy dough. Mochi is a sacred food for the gods, with people bringing neatly piled mounds of decorated mochi to shrines as offerings to the Shinto Gods for the New Year. It symbolizes longevity, well-being and prosperity.

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