TOKYO, Aug. 27 ─ Japan’s wagyu beef exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached a record high in 2016, as the high-priced Japanese delicacy has become increasingly popular in the oil-rich Middle Eastern monarchy.
Wagyu beef export volume to the UAE reached a record high of 1,741 kg in 2016, up 21% from a year earlier, according to the finance ministry.
The exports in the six months to June 2017 jumped 35% to 2,357 kg, exceeding the total exports of last year.
Wagyu beef is famous for marbling of fat and the way it dissolves in the mouth. Many Muslims are averse to red meat with blood when cooked a little bit rare, and prefer Japanese wagyu because there is no blood when cooked, experts say.
In 2014, a group of Japanese wagyu feeders participated for the first time in a Gulfood Exhibition taking place in Dubai, the world’s largest annual food and beverage fair in the Middle East region.
The government-backed Japan External Trade Organization, known as JETRO, set up a Japanese pavilion, featuring a variety of products, including wagyu beef. This helped boost the export of wagyu beef to the Middle East market.
Wagyu feeders are expecting to participate in the Gulfood Exhibition in February next year. It features more than 5,000 exhibitors and almost 100,000 visitors attend the show annually.