Out of nearly 20,000 supermarket outlets in Japan, more than 75 percent are local or regional retailers. A very effective way of introducing U.S. beef cuts into these small and middle-sized supermarkets is to appeal to the distributors who are supplying their meat products. Over the past year, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, has conducted company-specific seminars that specifically target these regional distributors.
Last year these seminars were held in seven major cities in western and central Japan, including the Chugoku/Shikoku Kinki area. This series proved extremely effective in raising the profile of U.S. beef and boosting consumer interest, as U.S. beef sales by participating companies quadrupled over the prior 12 months. To build on this success, USMEF is continuing the program in 2011.
U.S. beef achieved stellar growth in Japan in 2010, increasing by 36 percent in both volume (124,561 metric tons or nearly 275 million pounds) and value ($639.5 million), making it the third-largest export destination in both categories.
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