All Nippon Airways Adds U.S. Beef, Pork as Gift Option to Flyers
Japanese travelers who want to give their family, friends and business associates the gift of high-quality U.S. beef and pork can do so now through a program developed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in conjunction with All Nippon Airways (ANA).ANA’s popular “Wingspan” (Tsubasa-no-Okoku) in-flight magazine is distributed to an estimated 840,000 passengers each month, with another 20,000 copies sent to people who have requested subscriptions. Prior to the discovery of BSE, USMEF-Japan had collaborated with Wingspan on numerous U.S. beef promotions, but those were suspended after 2003. USMEF-Japan remained in contact with ANA and, with marketing support provided through USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff, the airline agreed this spring to add U.S. beef along with U.S. pork to its roster of preferred products that it markets to its customers. The current Wingspan edition features selected U.S. beef cuts under the USMEF “We Care” logo. In its next promotion, ANA is planning to feature U.S. pork under USMEF’s “Erabarete No. 1” (“chosen No. 1 by you”) logo. While the vast majority of ANA’s patrons are Japanese citizens flying domestically, the ads also find a receptive audience among Japanese residents who have relocated to the United States. They understand and appreciate the quality and safety of U.S. red meat products, and are more likely to give them as gifts. In fact, 12,000 Japanese living in Los Angeles and New York receive the ANA magazine by mail. ANA followers around the world also can access the magazine and catalog through ANA’s website. “While this is a new distribution channel for U.S. beef and pork, it also is a significant endorsement from an important trusted company in Japan,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director of USMEF-Japan. “Giving high-quality food items as gifts is an important part of the Japanese culture, and for ANA to include U.S. beef and pork in the ANA gift catalog gives it their blessing. Consumers in Japan gain confidence in the quality of products from this type of endorsement.” Japan is a critical – and still growing – market for U.S. beef and pork. In the first four months of 2011 it was the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork in terms of value and No. 2 in volume, purchasing 163,775 metric tons (361 million pounds) valued at $616.5 million – increases of 17 percent in volume and 17 percent in value over 2010. Japan’s 20-month age restriction on cattle eligible for processing for beef products has limited U.S. beef exports since 2003, but Japan remains the No. 4 export market in terms of value and No. 5 market for volume of U.S. beef. In the first four months of 2011, Japan purchased 44,369 metric tons (97.8 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $245.2 million – increases of 66 percent in volume and 73 percent in value over year-ago totals.