KC Sheperd, Farm Director, got chance to visit with the marketing director for USMEF Japan, Satoshi Kato, at the United States Meat Export Federation’s Strategic Planning Conference in Oklahoma City. Kato talked about how campaigns in Japan have brought attention to U.S. pork products.
The Eat at Home campaign was started in 2020, Kato said, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the COVID outbreak, people in Japan were not able to eat at restaurants and were purchasing more meat at the grocery store.
This presented an opportunity, Kato said, to add value to U.S. pork.
Customers shopping at grocery stores in Japan were encouraged by USMEF to purchase U.S. pork instead of domestic pork or pork from other countries. The campaign developed sauces and seasonings for thick-cut pork recipes that were attached to the pork product in the grocery store. Along with the sauces and seasonings, recipe cards were distributed as well.
The campaign had a large number of participants, Kato said, and was very successful.
“We are trying to expand our American pork loin consumption in the Japanese market,” Kato said.
By offering examples of different ways to cook pork, such as fried pork, Kato said, more attention was brought to U.S. pork products.
Kato talked about Porktober Fest in Japan, which came about because of Oktoberfest’s popularity in Japan. Porktober is focused on expanding U.S. pork to outdoor events such as food trucks and more. The campaign also included the development of more recipes and ways to cook U.S pork.
Porktober showcases various American pork recipes and expands pork promotions to events all around Japan.
“It is important to us to make consumers taste delicious American pork,” Kato said.
Another tactic being utilized in the U.S. pork campaign in Japan, Kato said, is a U.S. pork mascot, Gochipo.
“We think we can communicate with consumers through a friendly character, Gochipo,” Kato said.
Gochipo has proven to be a useful marketing tactic among consumers, Kato said, and especially kids.
Now that the tariffs on pork products in Japan are to be lifted, Kato said processed pork has had a large impact on the market.
Japan’s tariffs on U.S. pork muscle cuts will be eliminated over nine years. Tariffs on most processed pork products, including the 20% tariff on ground seasoned pork, will be phased to zero over five years and for ham and bacon over 10 years.
This tariff elimination, Kato said, will provide the opportunity to expand the American pork market in Japan further.
In the link below, watch a video as Gochipo Explains U.S. Pork Quality to Consumers in Japan: