Displays, samples and a preview of an upcoming U.S. pork retail campaign featuring shabu shabu, ginger pork and mini sauce bags were presented by the U.S. Meat Export Federation to retail buyers who attended the 2006 Super Showcase (International Supermarket & Private Label Trade Show) in Tokyo March 1-3.

“USMEF is planning a major U.S. pork retail campaign starting April, and Tokyo’s Super Showcase  was a great opportunity to promote it and give away sample retail packs of U.S. pork to retail buyers,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director, USMEF Japan.

Super Showcase is attended by more than 70,000 retail buyers and is one of the largest trade shows in Japan specializing in retail business. This year the show was held in parallel with Japan’s leading domestic Supermarket Trade Show and two other partner shows giving USMEF an enhanced opportunity to display and educate buyers about the taste and quality of U.S. pork.

“Attending the show gave USMEF the opportunity to speak with representatives from large nationwide supermarket chains such as Aeon and Daiei about opportunities regarding the mini sauce campaign and other future U.S. pork promotion opportunities,” said Yamashoji.

USMEF also provided information about U.S. beef safety including the USDA report released on Feb. 17 regarding the recent suspension of U.S. beef to Japan. USMEF staff felt it was important to explain the USDA and industry anti-BSE measures to buyers individually, since there is a great deal of concern in the trade that needs to be alleviated through detailed communication.

USMEF member packers, Johnsonville and AB Foods, were also involved in the show by  promoting their pork products at the USMEF booth.

A Johnsonville representative said he received many inquires from retailers and felt the show was a great opportunity for Johnsonville, AB Foods and USMEF to promote and display the benefits and taste U.S. pork to Japanese buyers.

The U.S. pork industry experienced its 15th year of export growth in 2005, setting a record of 1.1 million metric tons. U.S. pork (including variety meat) exports to countries around the world totaled $2.635 billion in 2005, compared to $2.227 billion in 2004. U.S. pork sales to the United States’ No. 1 market, Japan climbed 13 percent in volume (353,928 mt) and 11 percent in value ($1.088 billion).

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

U.S. Meat Export Federation