As some 60% of all food consumed in Japan is imported, including some for further processing, international exhibitors dominated the show.
Only 10 Japanese meat processing companies exhibited at Foodex, presenting Wagyu beef, dairy beef, horsemeat and sausages. A campaign to reassure consumers following the Fukushima incident regarding meat safety took place, with leaflets detailing the checks now taking place.
The presence of Mexican beef processors was highly significant, signalling their desire to increase market share and distribution in Japan. Spanish Serrano and Iberian hams were omnipresent at the show and they are starting to see the result of their sustained campaign to impose their product on the demanding Japanese market. Other significant meat presences included the USA and Australia with beef, Dutch veal, Spanish pork and Italian cured meats.
A British pavilion, headed by UKTI Japan, hosted 18 companies including Westaway sausages which is aiming to build on its presence in Japan. Prospects for UK pork exports are improving, but the market for beef and lamb still needs to open.
As the world’s third-largest consumer, Japan is too large to be overlooked by serious exporters. However, tenacity and a long-term strategy including a presence at major shows such as Foodex is necessary to make inroads into the market.