A visiting team of producers sponsored by Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) shared a meal and some preparation tips for American beef and pork with Japanese families, at a pair of recent events conducted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
The annual summer festival, Marunouchi Kids Festa, is a major attraction that drew 110,000 people last year. This year USMEF conducted an American pork cooking seminar three times a day on Aug. 17-19, for 720 Japanese parents and their young children.
Nebraska Soybean Board Chairman Lisa Lunz helped demonstrate barbecue cooking techniques for 300 Japanese families at the recent American Beef Family BBQ Festival in Tokyo.
The Nebraska Soybean Board contingent included Chairman Lisa Lunz of Wakefield, Neb., and Lois Ronhovde, NSB accounting coordinator and pork producer from Lincoln, Neb. They were joined by Kristen Eggerling of Martell, Neb., chairman of the education committee for the Nebraska Cattlemen.
"This was a great opportunity for us to build relationships," said Ronhovde. "The retailers we met were excited to meet Nebraska beef and pork producers, and the Japanese consumers were happy to put our faces to the U.S. pork and beef products that they buy."
At the American Beef Family BBQ Festival at Kasai Seaside Park in Tokyo, the Nebraska team joined USMEF in hosting 300 pairs of parents and children - selected from more than 3,000 applicants - for a demonstration of barbecue cooking techniques, games for the children and information on U.S. beef quality and nutrition for the parents.
"After meeting American producers, I feel closer to and more familiar with American meat products," one of the participating mothers said after the event. "I was very impressed when the American producers told us: 'When you see American meat products, please remember us.'"
"It was a wonderful experience," said Ronhovde. "At our farm in Nebraska, we produce high-quality soybeans and raise 600 hogs. Seeing Japanese consumers enjoy the U.S. pork that we produce is a great feeling."