Support from Ohio pork and soybean producers is helping the US Meat Export Federation introduce pork ribs to a wider range of consumers in Japan, which is traditionally the US pork industrys highest-value export market.
Pork Checkoff support from the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) has been used throughout August and September to promote US pork ribs at more than 100 Ito Yokado supermarkets in the Tokyo area. Ito Yokado is Japan's second-largest retail grocery chain.
An important aspect of the promotion is the use of “kitchen stations” at key Ito Yokado locations where customers can sample US pork back ribs and receive tips on how to prepare and cook them. Pork ribs are a relatively new item to the Japan market, but they are quickly gaining traction with Japanese consumers.
Jean Bell, a Zanesville, Ohio, pork producer who chairs OPPC's demand enhancement committee, and Randy Brown, a pork producer from Morral, Ohio, who serves on the OPPC board of directors, provide their thoughts on the pork rib promotion and the importance of further expanding US pork exports to Japan.
Further support from Ohio agriculture will allow the rib promotion to continue into the fall months. Soybean checkoff funding provided by the Ohio Soybean Council will allow USMEF to extend the Ito Yokado pork rib promotions through October and to explore other retail opportunities for US pork ribs.