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21 Jan 2022

Turning Japanese! Irish beef hits restaurant menus in Japan for first time

Turning Japanese! Irish beef hits restaurant menus in Japan for first time

Turning Japanese! Irish beef hits restaurant menus in Japan for first time

For the first time this December, Irish steak will be on the menu for thousands of customers in Japan.

This Christmas season, restaurant chain Negishi will showcase Irish ribeye steak on its menus. This will be the first time that Irish steak will be featured on the menu of a prominent restaurant chain in Japan.

Negishi, which was has 40 outlets around the Tokyo area, specialises in various kinds of grilled beef tongue – regarded as a delicacy in Japan. From December 10th to 25th, the restaurant chain will offer city dwellers the opportunity to experience grass fed ribeye from Ireland across ten of its busiest locations. 

Negishi was an early adopter, and is now a key customer, for Irish beef in Japan. Serving approximately 100,000 customers per week across its 40 locations, Negishi is the largest customer of Irish beef tongue worldwide.

To further promote Irish beef, Negishi will this month also offer a special Christmas holiday box of Irish steak and tongue, available to order online.

Joe Moore, Bord Bia Japan Market Specialist said: “Knowledge and awareness of Ireland as a stable source of quality beef has increased significantly in the Japan market in recent years. We are thrilled that Irish grass fed steak will for the first time be appearing on the menu of one of Japan’s most prominent restaurant chains. Negishi are an important customer for Irish beef, and we are glad to work closely with them to provide their loyal customers with a new Irish beef experience. Japan is one of the world’s largest meat importers, and Irish steak going on menu in the foodservice channel is testament to the sustained efforts of the Irish food industry to break into this market.”

Irish beef exports to Japan have grown significantly in recent years. A total of €15.7 million in value of beef was exported in 2020, almost double the €9.5 million exported in 2019. Ireland is now the seventh largest beef exporter to the Asian country. 

Although initial growth was in the form of tongue and other offal, more recently Japan has become a destination for prime beef. Since the Japan EU Economic Partnership Agreement was implemented in 2019, tariffs on imported beef from Europe have been decreasing. Indeed, exports to Japan across categories are growing. The total value of food and drink exports to Japan in 2020 was €146 million, up 12% YOY.

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