The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) exhibited at Gulfood 2017 with the objective of increasing awareness of Japanese products, in particular Japanese Wagyu beef.
This year marks the organization’s fourth year participating at Gulfood. In 2017, 44 companies took part on the stand, compared to 27 last year.
Japan’s exports to the UAE in 2016 totalled US $51 million, which represents 0.7% of Japan’s total exports.
Exports of Japanese Wagyu beef to the UAE increased by 70% in 2016 (a total of 14 tonnes) compared to the previous year, and this is primarily due to demand from restaurant and hotels, according to Junji Nakao, director JETRO, who spoke to Catering News on the sidelines of Gulfood.
This year, Gulfood featured a separate pavilion for Wagyu beef for concentrated promotional and educational efforts.
Out of 44 companies participating from Japan this year at Gulfood, 10 were Japanese Wagyu suppliers, with Japan aiming to double the current export of Japanese Wagyu to the Middle East region by 2019.
Other products of focus at Gulfood included sushi rice, soy sauce (gluten-free options also), black garlic, green teas (matcha), baby peaches, black soy beans amongst other ingredients sourced from all over Japan.
Japan currently exports to the Americas, Europe and South East Asia and is now focusing on expanding its export efforts into the Middle East region and Africa, with the UAE receiving the majority of F&B exports in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia.
The Japanese government is targeting an increase in global exports by 1 trillion Japanese Yen by 2019.