Japanese Wagyu looks to re-position itself in the European market. Eyeing up the European Union for export opportunities, the Japan Livestock Products Export Promotion Council has re-branded the image of its Japanese Wagyu.
Whereas the old image emphasised the word Wagyu, the new logo focuses on the Japanese origins of the beef. While countries such as Australia and the US have their own varieties of the meat, only Japanese Wagyu is the authentic kind, said the Council.
“In the EU market, Wagyu beef from other countries outside Japan has already established its presence before Japan started the export of Japanese Wagyu,” Masahiko Suneya, secretary general of Japan Livestock Products Export Promotion Council, told GlobalMeatNews. Japan has been exporting into the EU for three years now and, while the first two years went well, the third has seen sales of the product plateau.
“The word Wagyu originally means ‘Japanese Beef’,” added Suneya. “However, the term Wagyu is now used by suppliers from many other countries in order to give a premium impression for consumers that actual Japanese genuine high-quality Wagyu possesses. Therefore, we think if we keep on using the logo that emphasis ‘Wagyu’, it is difficult for suppliers and consumers to differentiate between authentic Japanese Wagyu and other Wagyu from foreign countries. That’s why we decided to use the new logo that emphasises ‘Japan’.”
There are three main features that make Wagyu different from other breeds of cattle, according to Suneya. They are: white marbling that comes from the caring method in which the cow is raised; a tender and creamy texture (since many unsaturated fatty acids are included and the melting point is low, it melts with human temperature); and a rich, sweet aroma that is exposed when the meat is heated.
Moving forward, the Japan Livestock Product Export Promotion Council aims to find new markets, as well as the existing ones it has in the EU. Targeting high-end restaurants and retailers, the Council hopes to position Wagyu among other premium products such as caviar and foie gras.