At an EU Beef & Lamb Seminar in Tokyo, Bord Bia officially launched Irish lamb to Japanese meat representatives.
Following the recent market access secured for sheep meat, the seminar showcased Irish and EU lamb and beef to a delegation of over 90 Japanese representatives, including food buyers, chefs and media. Ireland’s commitment to food safety and sustainability was also highlighted as part of a three year co-funded EU campaign implemented by Bord Bia to promote meat across Asia.
This seminar follows on from the successful Agri-Food Trade Mission to Japan in June, which marked the opening of the Bord Bia Tokyo office. Irish Ambassador to Japan, Paul Kavanagh, and Bord Bia Market Specialist, Joe Moore, represented Ireland at the event, with former Irish international rugby player Bernard Jackman and winner of the San Pelligrino Young Chef of the Year competition 2018 Mr Yasu Fujio addressing attendees about the positive attributes of Irish beef and lamb. Speaking at the event, Joe Moore said: “It is fantastic to see Irish lamb served here for the first time today. As one of the world’s largest meat importers, Japan offers significant growth potential for Irish sheep meat at a time when our food and drink industry is energised in unlocking opportunities in new markets. Over the last five years Japanese sheep meat imports have grown in double digits, with an 18% volume growth in 2018 alone. As we continue to invest resources in the region, this seminar is a key opportunity to build on the strong reputation Irish pork, dairy and seafood has gained in Japan and demonstrate how the Irish food industry can work with customers in responding to consumer demands for quality and sustainably produced food.”
On the eve of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup match against Japan, former Irish international rugby player Bernard Jackman also addressed the seminar. Jackman, who hails from a farming background and studied Japanese business, spoke about the role red meat plays in sports nutrition and beef and lamb as an important source of protein, which is particularly relevant for the ageing Japanese consumer. Commenting on the timing of the seminar Joe Moore added: “The launch of Irish lamb in Japan coincides with a period when Ireland’s profile will be significantly enhanced amongst the Japanese public. The match represents an opportunity to drive awareness of Irish beef and lamb to an audience of 127 million people and promote Ireland as a world class food and drink producer.”