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New Ideas for US Beef, Pork Introduced at 'Competitive' FOODEX

02 April 2019

JAPAN - Facing growing competition in Japan and other Asian markets, USMEF promoted US red meat by offering new dishes and fresh ideas for US beef and pork to importers, distributors, processors, foodservice operators and retailers attending the annual FOODEX trade show in Tokyo.

Funding by the USDA Market Access Programme (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Programme and the National Pork Board, connected USMEF members to thousands of potential customers who sampled US beef and pork inside the show’s USA Pavilion.

Attendance for the four-day event was estimated to be 80,500 people – a 10 percent increase over 2018. Vendor participation was higher as well, and USMEF Vice President for International Marketing Programmes Greg Hanes said an increase in competition at the 2019 show was quite noticeable.

Samples of US beef and pork dishes – some of them new to Japanese consumers – were handed out at the USMEF booth
[Photo: USMEF]

"FOODEX is always an exciting place for those in the export industry and has become the largest food-related exhibition in the Asian Pacific region, so it offers US red meat a lot of opportunities," said Mr Hanes, who joined other staff members at the USMEF display booth.

"What really stood out at this year’s show was the competition and how aggressive our competitors were due to the various trade agreements that have been reached and the fact the US doesn’t have an agreement with Japan. Some competing countries were new to FOODEX and some returned after an absence of several years. This shows how valuable a market Japan has become."

Strategies to promote US beef at FOODEX this year included the introduction of Idaho finger steak, nuggets of steak fried to create bite-sized morsels. USMEF developed special panels and recipe cards and distributed them to FOODEX attendees.

"This is a new item we promoted with support from the Idaho Beef Council and it was really a hit at the show," said Mr Hanes.

"The idea of frying beef is quite new to the hotel and foodservice buyers and managers who visited the USMEF booth. After sampling the fingers, many of them said they would consider putting it on their menus. It was definitely the most requested item we served over the four days."

USMEF connected member companies to meat importers interested in US beef and pork during the four-day FOODEX show
[Photo: USMEF]

USMEF also promoted US beef at FOODEX in an "American beef virtual tour: Farm to Table," a display where visitors were able to see an example of an authentic American ranch and feedlot through a virtual reality video program.

The one-hour video, produced by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association through support from the Beef Checkoff Programme and the Iowa Beef Industry Council, was designed to present US beef production practices.

On behalf of US pork, USMEF introduced to FOODEX visitors its Mitsuboshi, or "Three-starred American Pork," campaign that was launched late last year. The promotion focuses on three advantages of US pork: tenderness, tastiness and juiciness.

"USMEF-Japan has been emphasizing the quality of US pork by highlighting scientific data that show its advantages over domestic pork and some of our other competitors in the market," explained Mr Hanes. "The campaign also explains the affordability of US pork due to lower production costs and efficiency."

At its booth, outfitted with a small kitchen, USMEF served US pork tenderloin tonkatsu and grilled salt pork prepared with a low-temperature cooking method. US pork fried back rib and loin steak with special sauce developed by a Michelin-starred French chef were also served.

To relate to Japanese consumers in attendance, US pork mascot Gochipo made appearances at the show and mingled among visitors to the USMEF booth.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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