Top Japanese Wagyu Exporter Sees Sales Surging 16% to Record
††† Beef sales network expands after ANZCO Foods purchase: Itoham
††† Trade agreements with EU, Pacific nations to boost demand
By Aya Takada and Ovais Subhani, Bloomberg
February 8, 2018
Itoham Foods Inc., the biggest exporter of Japanís premium Wagyu beef, expects shipments to climb to a record as demand from Taiwan is set to triple and exports to Brazil may begin.
The unit of Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc. predicts exports may increase to 2.9 billion yen ($26.6 million) in the year starting April 1 from 2.5 billion yen, said Takayuki Yamakawa, general manager of Itohamís international meat sales department. The company plans to expand shipments beyond Asia, its main market, after acquiring New Zealandís ANZCO Foods, he said.
Wagyu comes from four Japanese breeds of beef cattle that typically produce intensely marbled meat, with a higher percentage of unsaturated fat than most other beef. That makes the soft, flavorful steaks among the worldís most-expensive. Itoham forecasts Wagyu exports may increase to 4.4 billion yen in 2019-20 when trade agreements with 10 Pacific nations and the European Union are expected to take effect, eliminating tariffs on beef imports from Japan.
ďAs Japan expands trade agreements, the government is putting its focus on export promotion for agricultural products, which is a tailwind for us,Ē Yamakawa said in an interview in Tokyo on Thursday.
Japanís exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products rose to 807.3 billion yen last year from 750.2 billion yen in 2016, a record for a fifth straight year, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday. Beef shipments jumped 41 percent to 19.2 billion yen.
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