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U.S. Pork Seminars Set Stage for Demand Growth in Japan

Published: Jan 26, 2020

The newly implemented U.S.-Japan trade agreement has potential to significantly increase demand for U.S. pork in Japan and USMEF has been working across many sectors in the market to promote the quality of U.S. pork and update importers and distributors about its availability.

Following are some of USMEF’s recent activities funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the National Pork Board.

U.S. Pork Seminar and Tasting Session in Osaka

More than 120 distributors, retailers and foodservice managers attended a U.S. pork seminar designed to help chilled U.S. pork displace Japanese domestic pork and Canadian pork in the market. Held at the Art Hotel Osaka, the seminar focused on new menu items and cooking methods for the foodservice sector.

A chef prepares U.S. pork during a USMEF seminar and tasting session in Osaka, Japan

Jeff Zimmerman, director of the USDA Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Osaka, opened the seminar, which included updates on the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, U.S. pork production and the effects of African swine fever (ASF) on global pork trade.

USMEF staff explained some of the organization’s 2020 activities for U.S. pork, including introduction of low-temperature cooking methods and campaigns to promote U.S. pulled pork. The seminar included a cooking demonstration featuring U.S. pulled pork, pork cutlet and pork steak prepared using low-temperature cooking methods, followed by a tasting session.

Social media helped promote U.S. pork in Japan after USMEF partnered with Cleanup, a major kitchen equipment company, to host a seminar for independent cooking instructors

U.S. Pork Cooking Seminar with Kitchen Equipment Company

In cooperation with Cleanup, one of the largest manufacturers of kitchen equipment in Japan, USMEF conducted a U.S. pork cooking seminar for 18 independent cooking instructors who each have more than 100 students.

Participants were also selected from Dreamia Club, a community website operated by Cleanup that has 21,150 members, including 2,053 cooking instructors. Rika Yukimasa, a celebrity chef and cooking specialist who is regularly featured in food magazines and television programs across Japan, presented an overview of U.S. pork and demonstrated how to prepare U.S. pork tonkatsu.

The 18 participating cooking instructors then shared with their students information they gathered at the seminar. They also posted U.S. pork photos and articles on social media accounts, reaching more than 50,000 viewers.

U.S. Pork Seminars in Nagoya and Fukuoka

USMEF held two U.S. pork regional seminars in Nagoya and Fukuoka for more than 70 retailers, foodservice managers and distributors. The seminars encouraged end users to shift to U.S. pork and explained how the U.S.-Japan trade agreement reduces duties on U.S. pork. Updates on U.S. pork production were given and the impact of ASF on the world’s pork supply was discussed. A cooking demonstration focusing on U.S. pulled pork was followed by a tasting session.

A chef offers tasting samples of U.S. pork at a USMEF seminar in Nagoya, Japan

U.S. Pork Seminar and Tasting Session in Sapporo

USMEF conducted a U.S. pork seminar at the Sapporo Tokyu REI Hotel for meat processors, retailers and foodservice managers.

Along with updates on U.S. pork production and the global impact of ASF, USMEF shared U.S. pork merchandising ideas with about 80 attendees. Andrew Lee, U.S. consulate general in Sapporo, delivered opening remarks.

A tasting session featured five U.S. pork dishes, including pulled pork, which was introduced in a cooking demonstration.

U.S. pulled pork was featured at a seminar and tasting session in Sapporo, Japan

Trade Agreement Expected to Boost U.S. Exports to Japan

The U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which entered into force Jan. 1, could have a significant impact on U.S. pork exports, according to USMEF forecasts. With tariff rates mirroring those imposed on major competitors, USMEF’s outlook for 2020 is for U.S. pork exports to Japan to reach $1.7 billion, with export volume projected to be roughly 410,000 metric tons.

USMEF projects that by 2025, U.S. pork exports to Japan will approach $2 billion, as consumption of U.S. red meat increases due to greater access for Japanese consumers and the U.S. gaining market share.

The agreement opens new opportunities for value-added and processed red meat products, with tariffs on these products phasing to zero, which contributes to the overall growth in U.S. exports to the high-value Japanese market. Key details of the agreement are summarized here.