Gourmet U.S. beef burgers are catching on with consumers who have responded very well to USMEF promotions in Japan’s foodservice sector. Encouraging Japanese consumers to prepare and cook burgers at home, however, has been a challenge.
“It is not common for Japanese to prepare hamburgers by themselves at home,” says Tatsuru Kasatani, marketing director, USMEF Japan. “And previous attempts by retailers to pre-package burgers have failed as the product and package sizes were too large for consumers.
A recent promotion by the AEON supermarket chain tested that idea by featuring smaller pre-packaged burgers. With funding from the Beef Checkoff Program and Nebraska Corn Board, USMEF supported the promotion with tasting demonstrations, point-of-sale materials and the customized development of a special website that consumers can access for cooking information through a QR code.
AEON was very pleased with the results and is planning additional promotions in July and August. USMEF’s goal is to get the word out to retailers that Japanese consumers will purchase American burgers at retail, if marketed correctly.