Trade Team Gains Insight into Japanese Market


Pork is the number one consumed protein worldwide. The three National Pork Board executive officers and two members of the senior leadership team participated in a trade mission to Japan and China. National Pork Board Treasurer Brett Kaysen says U.S. pork is well recognized in the meat case in Japan. The Colorado producer said the U.S. can learn from the Japanese when it comes to marketing to the consumer…

“I think we have the opportunity for more branding of our product, specifically, not just as US pork, but more of telling the story of from farm to fork. The Japanese people  really appreciate knowing the farmer, the pig farmer, the producer is behind the product, and they like to see signs with the face of the farmer, a story behind the farm, whether that be in traditional signage on the meat case or in a short video.

“I think we can learn from that, because I can see the American producers gaining some capital by branding their program and making a connection back to the consumer relative to we as farmers and what we do for a living.”

This trade team was also able to get a first-hand look at the Japanese processing sector. Kaysen says it was impressive…

“Phenomenal experience at the Tokyo Meat Market…if I could frame it up for you verbally, and let you imagine visually what this looks like…you’re essentially in downtown Tokyo looking at a building that would look from the outside something like a hospital structure, and that’s actually the Tokyo Meat Market.

“You would never guess that they’re fabricating hogs in there, you would never guess that there were any live animals coming into this facility, and quite frankly it was the cleanest meat  processing facility, or meat harvesting facility that I’ve ever seen.     They actually create those pigs into whole carcasses, and then sell them as a whole carcass.  I have never been in a plant that was that organized and that clean, to the point that as you walk into the plant you actually walk through a device that’s like a giant human hairdryer. 

“Phenomenal organization, and phenomenal sanitation, and cleanliness, and I appreciated that.   That goes with the Japanese culture, and as I said before, as you work through Tokyo, it’s a big, big city, but extremely organized and very, very clean. 

“I learned some things from them in terms of food safety specs, and standard operating procedures that I think we can continue to improve on in the US, as well.”

After five days in Japan, the delegation traveled to China.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.