KC Sheperd, Farm Director, got the chance to visit with the United States Meat Export Federation’s Director of Consumer Affairs, Taz Hijikata, at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Oklahoma City talking about how social media has helped the marketing of U.S meat to Japanese consumers.
“Before we had social media, it was challenging to talk to Japanese people directly, but these days we have a wonderful tool, digital media- to communicate with consumers directly,” Hijikata said.
Hijikata talked about the educational web campaign, which was aimed at showing consumers how U.S. meat is produced.
“We produced several video clips talking about how U.S. meat is produced,” Hijikata said. “We ran those videos on our website campaign.”
The videos are very well received by Japanese consumers and the message has been very useful for the consumers, Hijikata said, so they plan to continue using such tactics.
Hijikata said it is important for Japanese consumers to know the story behind U.S. meat products.
“If we don’t tell the story, there is no way that Japanese people learn about how U.S. beef producers produce,” Hijikata said. “They need that information from us, so that is why using the video clips and telling the information through the video is very effective to them. They appreciate that, too.”
Hijikata said Japanese people think that U.S. product is factory-made, so a big part of USMEF campaigning efforts involves changing that image.
“Our producer’s video can make the change,” Hijikata said. “It takes time- it is not quick.”
Connecting U.S producers and Japanese consumers, Hijikata said, is the most important thing.
“The most important thing for the Japanese right now is food loss,” Hijikata said. “However, sustainability is very important, so that is why how U.S. meat is produced is very important, and how much U.S producers care about the land and water is very important to them.”