TOKYO, Feb. 23 – National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH) announced on February 22, 2018, a plan to run its meat processing plant in the suburb of Los Angels to bolster beef export from Japan. It will allow the country, which used to export beef in large blocks only to local wholesalers, to locally cut meat for steaks and other purposes and sell to local supermarkets, restaurants and even directly to consumers on the Internet shopping site. ZEN-NOH also plans to introduce new recipes with sliced meat or portions unfamiliar to US consumers in order to stimulate the demand. According to ZEN-NOH, this will be the first beef processing facility in the U.S. set up by Japanese institute.
In November 2017, ZEN-NOH America Corporation, a subsidiary of ZEN-NOH in the U.S., established a beef processing and sales company, P&Z Fine Food LLC, jointly with a local wholesaler. The new company is well located, only 30-minute-drive away from both the Los Angeles Airport and Seaport, and equipped with a meat processing plant, and logistics and storage facilities. The plant removes fat and hard portions of the large meat blocks from Japan, cuts them into steak-size pieces or thin slices, and ships them as vacuum-packed products. The official launch of the plant is scheduled in March.
Japan exports beef in a form of 10-kilogram blocks, but they can be too expensive or too big for some potential customers. Also, the US consumers who love thickly-sliced steaks are unfamiliar with the recipes with portions other than beef loin or the idea of slicing or cutting beef into small pieces. So the company intends to add value to the meat from Japan by producing the products that meet the local customers’ needs, and also showing how we can also enjoy the wagyu beef fully in the meat-lovers’ country.
From now on, Japan can sell beef not only to wholesalers but also to local Japanese supermarket, hotels, and restaurants, which are much closer to the consumers. What’s more, P&Z Fine Food is going to sell the products on the Internet shopping site run by Costco, the world’s largest retailer based in the U.S. In the future, it may also sell Japanese rice and processed food to meet the consumers’ needs for a one-stop retailer of Japanese ingredients.