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Summertime and US pork a hot combo in Japan

by 5m Editor
10 July 2007, at 1:16pm

US - It’s time to fire up the grill and flip for the American Pork Sweepstakes, one of many summertime events in Japan during July, named American Meat Month by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

The American Pork Sweepstakes encourages consumers to try US pork and offers opportunities to win selected prizes based on the number of pork packages purchased.

“The US industry has made great strides in producing pork to meet expectations of Japanese customers, and these efforts are paying off in terms of increased market share,” said USMEF Japan Director Greg Hanes.

Through the first four months of this year, Japan has been the No. 1 market for US pork and pork variety meat, with a volume of more than 272 million pounds (123,400 metric tons) valued at $384 million.

“American Meat Month offers the perfect opportunity to enhance the image of US pork and showcase it as a nutritious, tasty, fresh and safe product that deserves a place in everyday meals in Japan,” said Hanes.

USMEF kicked off the campaign on 4 July at 14 retail chains. Several more chains are expected to join the campaign, which runs until the 27 August.

USMEF has created new recipe cards from its “Everyday Delicious” US.pork cookbook, posters and point-of-sale materials to support the campaign. Pork cooking demonstrations and tasting samples will also be conducted at the stores.

“By providing promotional incentives, samples, cooking demos and recipe ideas, Japanese consumers are more inclined to make regular purchases of US. pork and incorporate it into meal planning,” said Hanes.

Additionally, several local television stations will feature short spots introducing American pork recipes being prepared by well-known chefs and cooking instructors. They will provide details of the USMEF sweepstakes campaign and identify the stores consumers can visit to purchase US pork.

Chef cooking demonstrations and samples of U.S. pork will be available at several Seiyu stores, another top retailer in Japan. The demonstrations and recipes will be featured in Saita, a popular women’s magazine.

Daiei and Maruetsu retailers also plan to conduct special cooking classes for customers in the Kanto region.

“This type of hands-on cooking experience helps familiarize consumers with US pork so they are more comfortable purchasing it,” Hanes said. “Having a cooking instructor on hand to answer questions, provide ideas and demonstrate techniques helps dispel fears consumers have with buying meat and cooking it successfully.”

Other USMEF activities during American Meat Month include a media conference with pork and beef producers along with US athletes now involved in the US meat industry, trade seminars for pork buyers and a dedicated advertising campaign. Special US pork and beef meals will also be on sale at baseball games in Japan with revenues going to local children charities.

The US Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

5m Editor