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Secretary Perdue Joins USMEF for Urban Barbecue Promotion in Japan

Joining USMEF staff in promoting U.S. beef and pork while personally grilling and serving American-style barbecue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue participated in a USMEF promotion this week in Tokyo. The activity, funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board, benefited greatly from the presence of Perdue, who was in Japan for meetings with agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 industrial nations.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue serves American-style barbecue to Japanese consumers during a USMEF Urban Barbecue event in Tokyo

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue serves American-style barbecue to Japanese consumers during a USMEF Urban Barbecue event in Tokyo

“Consumers were able to meet Secretary Perdue and hear him speak about U.S. red meat, which made quite a positive impression,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan. “Having him attend the event helped put a face on American agriculture and bolstered our efforts to build trust among Japanese consumers. In a personable way, he was able to encourage people to continue to purchase and enjoy U.S. beef, pork and lamb.”

Using his family’s special sauce recipe, Perdue prepares U.S. beef and pork at the USMEF Urban Barbecue event

Using his family’s special sauce recipe, Perdue prepares U.S. beef and pork at the USMEF Urban Barbecue event

The event – the latest in USMEF’s Urban Barbecue campaign – was supplemented by tasting samples of U.S. beef and U.S. pulled pork prepared with a special Perdue family barbecue sauce recipe. Perdue’s appearance at the grill was followed by a session that featured Japanese food journalists, bloggers and social media celebrities grilling U.S. beef and pork. Perdue moved from grill to grill, chatting with participants about his barbecue preferences.

USMEF launched the Urban Barbecue campaign to show Japanese consumers that American-style barbecue can be made easily without large smokers or other professional equipment.

USMEF staff with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Urban Barbecue event: (left to right) Ayako Akudo, Yumiko Nishikawa, Tazuko Hijikata, Perdue, Takemichi Yamashoji and Tatsuru Kasatani

USMEF staff with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Urban Barbecue event: (left to right) Ayako Akudo, Yumiko Nishikawa, Tazuko Hijikata, Perdue, Takemichi Yamashoji and Tatsuru Kasatani

“The Japanese love the taste of American barbecue, but one thing that was keeping consumption from expanding was the common belief that it is difficult to prepare,” said Yamashoji. “We have been working to dispel that belief, with Urban Barbecue activities that demonstrate how easy it is to prepare American-style barbecue.” Perdue’s visit precedes scheduled meetings later this month between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who are expected to review the progress of recently launched trade agreement negotiations between the U.S. and Japan.