Although the foodservice sector in Japan has generally struggled through the pandemic, a few restaurant segments are faring well. With yakiniku restaurants growing in popularity and sales, more than 14,000 visitors attended the 2022 Yakiniku Business Fair in Tokyo looking for new ideas in an environment of changing demand and rising costs.
With funding from the Beef Checkoff Program, Texas Beef Council and National Pork Board, USMEF introduced new menu and merchandising ideas to the foodservice sector during the two-day show. With the duty on picnic/cushion meat decreasing in April, USMEF stepped up its promotion of U.S. picnics to the foodservice sector as an alternative cut.
“We are building on previous work in promoting picnics as a value-added cut to foodservice,” says Satoshi Kato, marketing director, USMEF Japan. “For this important show, we highlighted the reduced duty on picnics and we developed new ginger pork and pulled pork dishes for sample tastings and consideration as new menu items.”
To capitalize on the growing consumer demand for takeout and delivery meals, USMEF also unveiled a new “U.S. Beef Take-Out Menu Book” at the show. Funded by the Beef Checkoff, the menu book focuses on value-added menu ideas utilizing 10 cuts of American beef — chuck eye roll, rib eye roll, strip loin, top blade, short plate, outside flat, outside skirt, hanging tender, tongue and large intestine.
USMEF worked with two chefs to create three new recipe ideas for each of the 10 items for the menu book.
“The menu book was very well received at the Yakiniku Business Fair and we are now distributing it to importers and meat processors that have close relationships with foodservice companies,” says Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF Japan director. “With changes in consumer demand, personnel shortages and rising costs, we see this as an opportunity to present high-value U.S. beef meals as profitable solutions to the foodservice sector.”