Since Japan reopened to U.S. lamb in 2018, it has been featured mostly in high-end dining establishments. But with COVID-19 slowing foodservice operations, Japanese consumers are seeking more high-quality meat options at retail that they can prepare at home. This includes U.S. lamb, which is available at high-end retail establishments such as Queen’s Isetan, Hankyu and Tokyu Presse.
Tatsuru “Tom” Kasatani, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior marketing manager in Japan, says boneless round cuts are the best-selling U.S. lamb items at retail, as these cuts are often marinated, sliced and grilled. Some retailers are also featuring Frenched rack of lamb as a special occasion item.
USMEF recently conducted the first U.S. lamb retail promotion in Japan at 11 Queen’s Isetan retail outlets, with demonstrators explaining how U.S. lamb is produced and highlighting its uniquely rich flavor and texture. Sales during the promotion prompted Queen’s Isetan to offer U.S. lamb on a regular basis in 2021.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.