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CATTLE TODAY

JAPANESE CONSUMERS REACH OUT TO U.S. BEEF

Japanese consumers are reaching out to U.S. beef. Approximately 5 metric tons of U.S. beef at three Costco stores in the Tokyo area sold out in the first day.

The first shipment of U.S. beef to Japan began selling in the Costco store nearest Tokyo Wednesday (Aug. 9), and interest among media and consumers was high. About 60 media representatives were on hand to capture video footage and conduct consumer interviews starting at 1 p.m.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) also is actively reaching out to Japanese consumers to provide assurances that the U.S. beef industry is dedicated to their interests through safe, wholesome beef.

USMEF representatives distributed samples of U.S. beef and “We Care” materials. The campaign gives Japanese audiences information demonstrating the U.S. beef industry's commitment to taking the proper steps in assuring food safety, quality and taste.

Although polls show many Japanese consumers still have some doubts about the safety of U.S. product and are reluctant to buy, results from the Costco reintroduction demonstrated that consumers were open to factual information and willing to give the product a try. Japanese shoppers lined up for tastes of U.S. beef being sampled at the store, and many purchased multiple packs of the product.

The USMEF We Care campaign, with participation and support from U.S. government, beef producers and exporting companies, was introduced Aug. 4, and will help re-establish the high quality image of U.S. beef previously held by the Japanese.

The We Care campaign includes advertising in major newspapers, a web site, retail and foodservice promotions, interviews and public relations events. Later a major media conference, seminars and We Care barbecues will be conducted.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

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