Irish beef hits Japanese high-end retail store shelves for the first time
The beef will be supplied by Longford-based dry-cooked beef specialist John Stone.
Irish beef will be on the shelves of high-end retail stores in Japan for the first time.
The Isetan department store in Japan officially launched Irish beef on September 2 in Tokyo by Agriculture, Food and Ocean Minister Charlie McConalogue.
The launch was held at the Isetan Shinjuku flagship store, the most high-end department store in Tokyo.
The deal comes after Isetan struck a deal with Longford-based beef specialist John Stone to supply beef to Kojima Shoten at the Isetan Food Hall and 14 restaurants in the luxury department store.
In 2019, Bord Bia hosted Kojima Shoten CEO Yasunari Kojima on a study visit to Ireland as part of the European beef and lamb movement led by Bord Bia.
Bord Bia interim chief executive Michael Murphy said the availability of Irish beef in one of the world's most prestigious department stores was "a strong endorsement of the quality and reputation of Irish beef from farm to table".
Last year, the value of Irish beef (including primary beef and beef offal) exported to Japan rose by 28% to €28 million.
Murphy added: “While the bulk of these exports are frozen imports for foodservice and manufacturing, today’s launch reflects the growing interest in Irish grass-fed beef from trade buyers in the premium sector. There is an increasing opportunity to find positioning among suppliers."
John Stone supplies Irish beef and lamb from its headquarters in Ballymahon, County Longford, to some of the world's leading hotels and restaurants.
While primarily foodservice specialists, they only offer retail-packaged steaks to select customers.
Tim Stone, managing director of John Stone, said the company was "pleased to give Japanese consumers the opportunity to enjoy our specially selected Irish grass-fed beef".
Irish exports to Japan are "rapidly growing"
Bord Bia's Tokyo team is led by Singapore-based Southeast Asia director Ciaran Gallagher and Joe Moore managing the Tokyo office.
His team is also supported by two Bord Bia fellows who work directly for Irish exporters targeting the region.
The Tokyo office was established in 2019 to build local connections, gather market and consumer insights, and support Irish exporters.
Gallagher said Irish exports had "increased rapidly in recent years", with total exports rising 56 per cent from €112 million in 2018 to €175 million last year.
Isetan's launch of Irish beef is part of a broader Bord Bia meat promotion campaign to raise awareness and promote Irish beef, pork, lamb and seafood across Japan.
According to Bord Bia, Japanese consumers have historically preferred grain-fed beef over grass-fed beef due to the reputation of their own grain-fed Wagyu, combined with the success of grain-fed U.S. beef over the years. Marketing.
Last year, Bord Bia conducted a two-phase beef taste-testing project among 300 Japanese consumers to find out what people thought about grass-fed Irish beef.
The results show that Japanese consumers like the taste, texture and smell of Irish grass-fed beef, and they have a positive view of grass-fed beef as healthier, natural and environmentally friendly.