Grass-fed Beef For Japanese Market

NEW ZEALAND - Meat & Wool New Zealand’s 2010 beef promotion programme in Japan is focused on differentiating New Zealand grass-fed beef from products offered by key competitors, says General Manager of Market Development, Craig Finch.
calendar icon 24 May 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

This will be done through a range of activities in hotels, restaurants, in-store tasting promotions and media coverage of the healthy benefits of New Zealand grass-fed beef.

“Japanese consumers are among the most health-conscious in the world. Our New Zealand grass-fed beef brand aims to grow awareness of our product among Japanese consumers and position it as inherently distinct from other beef supplied to the market.”

Mr Finch says the Japanese market was significantly affected when American beef exports were banned after BSE was discovered in the United States in 2003. Restrictions on beef from United States cattle under 21 months were lifted in July 2006.

“In early 2007 Meat & Wool New Zealand launched a Japanese language New Zealand grass-fed beef logo, accompanied by the slogan ‘New Zealand grass-fed beef, grass-reared is safe and delicious’.

“We aim to connect with consumers by using messages based around the clean, green natural environment that New Zealand beef is raised in. We emphasise that cattle are free ranging and eat their natural diet of grass, our product is safe, and that grass-fed production has health and nutritional benefits.”

Japanese consumers are accustomed to grain-fed beef, as Australia and the United States have the largest presence in the market, along with the domestic Wagyu beef.

Mr Finch says this year’s beef promotion activities, which are funded by farmer levies, aim to spread awareness of New Zealand grass-fed beef and grow demand for the product.

“The most cost effective way of doing this is to participate in existing events that are designed to reach our target audience. Events conducted around sports events for young children, for example, are a good match for our focus on health and nutrition. In-store tasting promotions are another valuable platform for connecting directly with consumers, and introducing them to the taste and tenderness of New Zealand beef.”

Meat & Wool New Zealand also works with media outlets and the food service sector to highlight the merits of New Zealand grass-fed beef and enlist their support in spreading the message.

“For example, we’ve had positive feedback and pleasing diner numbers during a two-month promotion underway at the Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel in Tokyo. And early next month Beef & Lamb New Zealand ambassador chef Darren Wright will visit Tokyo and prepare a grass-fed beef dinner at the New Zealand Embassy for targeted food and lifestyle media.”

Mr Finch says all activities are supported with promotional materials which have a consistent design and are aimed at educating users on the unique characteristics and benefits of New Zealand grass-fed beef.

“They also reinforce the key messages that New Zealand grass-fed beef is healthy and nutritious, safe, natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable, delicious and premium.”

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