With funding support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), USMEF recently collaborated with two large food companies to promote U.S. pork back ribs at Aeon retail stores throughout Japan. Last month USMEF worked with Kagome, a major food and beverage maker, on a joint campaign with Kagome tomato sauce. The promotional period was linked to Aeon’s Beaujolais Nouveau Fair, which was featured at 1,500 Aeon outlets.
“Kagome representatives felt this was a great opportunity to drive sales by co-promoting our products at retail meat case,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF-Japan senior marketing manager. “The company is looking forward to exploring similar promotional activities with USMEF in the future.”
In cooperation with Suntory Foods, an international food and beverage maker and Pepsi Japan’s largest distributor, USMEF is currently conducting a joint promotion at Aeon stores featuring U.S. pork back ribs stewed in Pepsi Next – a lower-sugar version of Pepsi Cola. In addition to print and point-of-sale advertising, the dish is also featured in this Aeon holiday television campaign (at the 1:35 mark).
“Aeon is planning to double the amount of pork ribs sold at these outlets compared to the same period last year,” said Yamashoji. “USMEF is very excited to be a part of this joint promotion with Aeon and Suntory Foods, as these partners are highly trusted among Japanese consumers. Suntory Foods has other promotions in mind that will pair popular beverages with U.S. meat, which will generate excellent exposure for our products.”
For U.S. pork exports to Japan, 2012 is another outstanding year. Through October, pork and pork variety meat exports totaled 389,446 metric tons (858.6 million pounds) valued at $1.68 billion. While volume is 5 percent lower than a year ago, export value is 4 percent ahead of last year’s record pace.