The Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) supported promotional efforts in Japan this year through investments with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the beef checkoff.
According to OBC, Daiei is a large national supermarket in Japan with 176 outlets across suburban areas of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. In 2017, this chain added U.S. Department of Agriculture Prime Chuck eye roll steak to its existing selection of U.S. beef cuts that included inside and outside round, chuck short rib, short plate and tongue.
In January 2018, USMEF bolstered Daiei’s USDA Prime beef promotion with a point-of-sale tasting demonstration and newspaper insertion. During the period, Daiei sold 100 metric tons of U.S. beef, which was a 42% increase over the same period in 2017. Based on its strong performance, Daiei decided to permanently include USDA Prime chuck eye roll as a main item in its program.
Promotional efforts were also carried out in Inageya stores, a regional grocery chain in Japan with 138 outlets in the Kanto area. In February 2018, the chain held an American Beef Fair at all outlets, featuring U.S. chuck eye roll, short rib, tongue and other cuts. USMEF supported the promotion with newspaper insertions and tasting demonstrations of marinated short plate. The chain sold 27 mt of U.S. beef during the period.
Aeon Group, the largest retail supermarket chain in Japan, also conducted an American Beef Fair in February, promoting steaks and thin cuts of U.S. chuck tail flap and short plate. The event also featured chuck eye roll, which Aeon began selling by the pound (instead of its normal 7-9 oz. portions) as part of USMEF’s “pound steak campaign.” USMEF supported this nationwide promotion through tasting demonstrations and newspaper insertions. Aeon sold 120 mt of U.S. beef during the promotional period.
National chain Ito Yokado conducted an American Beef Fair at its 105 outlets in the Kanto area from February to April 2018. During the period, Ito Yokado promoted a U.S. chuck eye roll steak with “pound steak” point-of-sale materials, including cooking instructions to guide consumers through this new cut. Other U.S. beef cuts, including hanger steak and outside skirt, for Yakiniku (Korean BBQ) were also featured in the promotion. Ito Yokado’s U.S. beef sales during the promotion increased 31.3% compared to the same period in 2017, growing from 577 mt to 758 mt.