Audio: U.S. Beef, Pork Showcased at Asia’s Largest Food Show
U.S. exporters recently met with hundreds of buyers and representatives of Japan’s retail and foodservice industries at FoodEx Japan, Asia’s largest food trade show. Greg Hanes, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) assistant vice president for international marketing, said the show attracted a mix of attendees, ranging from representatives of small importers and restaurants to top executives from some of the largest food companies in the world.
To stay a step ahead of competitors in the important Japanese market, USMEF prepared U.S. beef and pork dishes for attendees to sample. Because beef tongue is very popular – Japan imported more than 19,000 metric tons of U.S. beef tongue in 2016, up 15 percent year-over-year, and valued at $286 million, which was up 43 percent* – the tenderness of corn-fed U.S. beef tongue over that of grass-fed competitors was featured. For pork customers, thin-sliced and fried U.S. pork cutlets were prepared and served in a convenient way that caters to “on the go” Japanese consumers.
Ralph Loos: The U.S. Meat Export Federation recently participated in FoodEx Japan, Asia’s largest food trade show, which annually attracts importers and buyers, ranging from small restaurants to some of the world’s largest food companies. In this USMEF report, Greg Hanes, assistant vice president for international marketing, explains how this year’s show provided an opportunity to share new ideas and innovations for U.S. beef and pork.
Greg Hanes: We always try to give our targeted accounts new opportunities to try the product, because that’s the key – they can really taste the quality and the attributes of it. We’re also trying to show a lot of the innovation, as far as new ideas that can be utilized at foodservice or at retail. Form the beef side this time, what we showed was a beef tongue – obviously beef tongue is one of the more popular cuts that is used there in the yakiniku sector – but we did it as kind of a souvid style, cooked differently and sliced very thin, and then prepared with a different kind of light sauce. This is something that could be served at yakiniku restaurants and served as more of an appetizer or a side dish or something that would fit in very well with pub-type dining.
Ralph Loos: Hanes said USMEF is focused on selling more U.S. pork loin in Japan, so visitors to FoodEx were served a new type of tonkatsu, a thin-sliced fried U.S. pork cutlet aimed at “on the go” customers.
Greg Hanes: Japan is a big user of loin, a lot of that goes in to tonkatsu, which is an area we are really going to be focused on this year to continue to move more product in the traditional sense with the traditional tonkatsu items. So what we introduced this year at FoodEx was more of a portable tonkatsu, which is a very thin-sliced tonkatsu that’s breaded and fried and then actually served in a kind of hand-held case so that you can utilize that as something that can be sold at convenience stores or shops and something that you can take and eat on the go.
Ralph Loos: For more information, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Ralph Loos.
*Editor’s note: this article was recently updated using Japanese import data rather than U.S. export data, because it more accurately captures the full volume and value of both chilled and frozen beef tongue shipments to Japan.