Top Wagyu Exporter Itoham Projects 16% Surge To New Sales Record This Year
by Bloomberg
Posted: 2018-02-14 15:46:03 EST

Itoham Foods Inc., the nation’s biggest exporter of premium wagyu, expects shipments to hit a record with Taiwanese demand for the beef set to triple and exports to Brazil on the verge of beginning.

The unit of Itoham Yonekyu Holdings Inc. predicts exports might rise to ¥2.9 billion ($26.6 million) in the year starting April 1 from ¥2.5 billion, said Takayuki Yamakawa, general manager of Itoham’s international meat sales department. The company plans to expand shipments beyond Asia, its main market, after acquiring New Zealand’s Anzco Foods, he said.

Wagyu comes from four Japanese breeds of beef cattle that typically produce intensely marbled meat, with a higher percentage of unsaturated fat than most other beef. That makes the soft, flavorful steaks among the world’s most expensive. Itoham forecasts wagyu exports may increase to ¥4.4 billion from 2019 to 2020 when trade agreements with 10 Pacific nations and the European Union are expected to take effect, eliminating tariffs on beef imports from Japan.

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