USMEF hosted key leadership from the Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC) of Japan this week, a delegation that included ALIC President Kazuo Sato, for the annual conference between the two organizations. The two groups shared information on consumer trends, meat production and import/export data.
The ALIC team also visited the Superior Farms lamb processing plant in Denver, a stop that is especially relevant now that Japan has reopened its market to U.S. lamb.
“USMEF and ALIC meet annually to discuss what is happening in each respective market and to exchange information on what is expected in the near future,” said Takemichi Yamashjoji, USMEF director in Japan, who also was visiting USMEF’s Denver office and joined in the meetings with ALIC. “Since Japan is our largest export market, it is essential we maintain and deepen relations with key organizations like ALIC.”
Sato and USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom opened the conference with general overviews of each organization. This was followed by a presentation by USMEF Economist Erin Borror and Trade Analyst Jessica Spreitzer that included supply, demand and pricing outlooks for U.S. beef and pork.
Yamashoji and USMEF Vice President for Marketing Greg Hanes then gave ALIC an outline of USMEF’s marketing programs and projects. USMEF’s beef export strategy was highlighted, with the discussion centered on U.S. beef supply and pricing.
The ALIC team offered a look at consumer trends in Japan, as well as the country’s outlook for domestic livestock production. Along with consumer demand, ALIC is also focused on ways to support Japan’s domestic agriculture sector, the Japanese team explained.
ALIC shared information about a regular survey they conduct with retail supermarkets in Japan about trends and preferences of food buyers who work in the country’s retail sector.
Gaining such perspective is a major benefit of the conference.
“Although consumers in the U.S. and Japan have differing cultural preferences, there are similarities in the way we successfully market products,” said Hanes. “At USMEF, we work to immerse ourselves in the market to implement the best marketing strategy for expanding demand for U.S. beef, pork and lamb. Having these meetings with a group like ALIC provides us additional insight into this important market.”
ALIC’s retail visits in Denver included Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods and a King Soopers supermarket. In Greeley, Colorado, the group toured the Kuner Feedlot and the Colorado Premium and Mountain States Rosen processing plants.