Japan unveils food export strategy to attract foreign interests

TOKYO, Dec. 2 — A government-backed agency that promotes Japanese food exports has identified its first 7 products seen as having great potential to penetrate global markets.

The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center (JFOODO) unveiled on Dec. 1 its first export strategy for 7 agriculture sectors: wagyu beef, rice flour, green tea, sake, wine, craft beer and fishery products.

JFOODO now plans to allocate spending on promotion and advertising in different foreign media from February 2018. It will also increase product lines to expand exports.

The move coincides with the government setting a target to boost the annual value of Japan’s agricultural exports at 1 trillion yen by 2020.

Japanese total exports for food rose 5.4% to a record 568.3 billion yen in the nine months that ended September 30, 2017, compared to the same period the year earlier.

The JFOODO is targeting Taiwan to promote wagyu beef, starting with a shabu shabu hot pot, where slices of wagyu beef are cut as thin as newspaper pages.

The razor thin wagyu beef is so heavily marbled that it needs to be boiled for a mere few seconds. The Taiwanese also have a custom of eating sliced meat in a steaming hot pot.

The agency is also targeting the U.S. and France to expand exports of rice flour as a gluten free substitute for wheat flour, used in bakery products and pizza.

For Japanese sake, the agency will label it in a way that offers content descriptions and suggests matching dishes.

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