Alternative Cut Solutions Promoted at Major Food Trade Shows in Japan

While signs of a recovery in tourism have brought optimism to Japan, the yen’s ongoing weakness continues pressuring the purchasing plans of buyers, including those who serve the retail and foodservice sectors. Quality remains a top purchasing criteria in the high-value Japan market, however, leading to growing interest among the trade in new ideas and alternative red meat options. Two of Japan’s largest food trade shows gave the U.S. red meat industry opportunities to demonstrate and promote a wide range of beef and pork cuts as options to help meet the evolving needs of retailers and foodservice chains.

Japan’s Supermarket Trade Show was an opportunity for U.S. suppliers and USMEF staff to demonstrate retail merchandising ideas, discuss attributes of specific cuts and provide samples of various beef and pork items

“Supermarket Trade Show is specific for the retail sector, which is a very large market for U.S. beef and pork, chilled and frozen,” says Tom Kasatani, USMEF marketing director in Japan. “And the larger FOODEX show gave us the opportunity to show Japanese restaurants and retailers how to maintain and expand their high-quality offerings of U.S. beef and pork through a wide range of alternative cuts.”

Kasatani explained that the current purchasing environment is compelling restaurant operators to consider cost-effective menu ideas with U.S. beef such as shoulder clod, top blade, chuck flap, brisket skirt, and top and outside round. USMEF also promoted beef from dairy cattle as an economical option.

In meetings with targeted buyers, USMEF described how hands-on culinary training and cutting demonstrations of selected cuts would show end-user operators how to cost-effectively utilize the alternative cuts and contribute to new menu offerings for their customers. The training programs are followed by customized support in implementing U.S. beef and pork promotions.

Funding support was provided by the National Pork Board, the Beef Checkoff Program, Texas Beef Council and USDA’s Market Access Program.

Source: USMEF