On February 15-17, 2023, the Union of Producers and Employers of Meat Industry together with representatives of trading companies participated in one of the largest international fairs in Japan targeted at supermarket chains and food retailers as part of the information and education campaign “European beef on Asian markets”. Poland is the largest exporter of beef to Japan among EU countries. In 2021 it exported over 9,300 tons of beef to Japan. The delegation consisted of representatives of four beef production plants.
The SMTS fair is an opportunity to get the latest information about the food distribution industry, which in particular focuses on supermarkets. Participation in the event gives the participants an opportunity to meet leaders from the retail, wholesale, ready meals and food service industries. The fair brings with it unique prospects for establishing partnerships, expanding the network of contacts and sharing the latest industry trends. This year’s edition of the fair was attended by 2,046 companies and associations exhibiting at 3,271 stands, including 95 companies and associations and 104 stands from abroad (16 countries). In three days, the fair was visited by 62,525 visitors.
Japanese and Asian contractors had a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the beef production potential of European companies. During dozens of B2B meetings, experts talked to their partners and potential partners about the importance of developing the sales network and international contacts, as well as internal production standards and production practices commonly used in the European Union.
During the fair, UPEMI had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Radosław Tyszkiewicz, First Counsellor and Head of the Political and Economic Department of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tokyo, and Mrs. Marta Szczygieł, Head of the Foreign Trade Office of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in Tokyo at their stand. Thanks to these meetings, the entrepreneurs broadened their knowledge about the Japanese meat industry, beef imports and consumption of red meat in Japan.
At the campaign stand, visitors had an opportunity to taste various dishes prepared using European beef. A well-known Polish chef, Sebastian Kornacki, with the support of a Japanese assistant, organized six culinary shows. During these shows, he presented elements of beef and their use in the kitchen, and gave the Japanese experts visiting the fair a chance to acquaint themselves with the taste and advantages of cooking and eating European meat. Thanks to the tasting of beef dishes prepared by the chef, visitors to the stand had the opportunity to personally experience the high quality and excellent taste of meat produced in the EU.
In addition, within store checks European beef exporters visited two supermarkets in Tokyo, targeting two different groups: consumers purchasing mid-priced and high-priced products. They could personally see what the retail sale of meat and meat products looks like and find out which elements of the beef carcass are the most popular among Japanese consumers. The Polish delegation paid particular attention to the way of presenting and packing meat items in display cases.
The participation of representatives of the European meat industry in the fair was an excellent opportunity to establish – hopefully – long-term business relations. It also enabled a valuable exchange of experience and information and showed the possibilities of cooperation between the European Union and Japan. The delegation returned from Japan convinced that European beef tastes good to recipients from around the world thanks to its low fat content, distinctive taste and high quality.