Since pork and kimchi, the Korean national dish, are an increasingly popular combination in Japan, the U.S. Meat Export Federation is convincing consumers that kimchi nabe tastes better with U.S. pork.

     USMEF teamed up with Daisho, a soup company, to provide demonstrators to show consumers how to cook the U.S. pork belly dish made with the garlic, red pepper and ginger kimchi.

     “Kimchi nabe’s growing popularity in Japan made this the perfect time to show how well U.S. pork works in this dish,” says USMEF-Japan Senior Marketing Director Takemichi Yamashoji.

     The promotion, in a region of Japan that includes the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, sold more than 80,000 pounds of U.S. pork in two days at 90     stores of the Max Value Group. USMEF also provided quick recipe cards to consumers.

     “Many retailers are beginning to promote suggested recipes to consumers, so the promotion fit well into our overall strategy to expand the volume of U.S. pork sold in Japan,” says Yamashoji.

     Japan is the world’s largest pork importer, buying pork from 27 countries. The United States has 31 percent of the pork import market share with Denmark a close second with 28 percent and Canada not far behind with 20 percent.

U.S. pork sales to Japan, set new dollar and tonnage records in 2004 with exports of 313,574 metric tons, up 16 percent over 2003, and $978,541, up 25 percent.

     This was the second USMEF promotion held at Max Value Group stores in the Kinki region. The first promotion last October was successful in selling 120,000 pounds of U.S. pork belly in two days, an increase of more than 200 percent from before promotion sales.

Additionally, last December in Tokyo, USMEF promoted a popular winter dish called Kakuni, prepared with U.S. pork belly so consumers could experience how the taste and quality of U.S. pork enhances the flavor of the dish. That promotion sold 100,186 pounds of U.S. pork belly at retail chains.