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Entering the Japanese food market. Twelve Ukrainian companies took part in FOODEX

It was not easy, but it had to be done in order to find new ways of selling in the still undiscovered Japanese market. Traffic at the Polish border was chaotic. They managed to get wine, honey and nuts into Poland and packed the goods on a flight from Warsaw to Tokyo.
With the help of JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization, a subsidiary of the Japanese government, 12 companies from Ukraine finally showed up with their products at FOODEX, the largest international food exhibition in Asia, held this month in Tokyo.

«Today (March 5, 2024) FOODEX-2024 opened in Tokyo. The Japanese food market is huge, competitive, prestigious and profitable. Twelve Ukrainian companies have the opportunity to present their products, and we can be proud of them, because they are tasty, useful and beautiful,» said Sergiy Korsunsky, Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan, atthe opening ceremony.

Ukraine’s pavilion, a 108-square-meter space decorated with national flags, was located just inside an area for European countries.
Although the space is limited, the pavilion received a lot of attention from the exhibition participants.

One of the special guests was Mr. Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture of Italy. During his trip to Japan as the chairman of the G7 Ministers of Agriculture, he visited the exhibition to show his solidarity with Ukraine.

Mr. Andrii Shkliar, co-founder and head of business development at BRANCHO company of Kyiv was selling organic fruit rolls and chips. He said, «Brancoho snacks are convenient and healthy. Since the demand in Ukraine has decreased, we need to find new markets. So far we are exporting well to Europe and the USA, but it is necessary to expand export sales».

He expressed his expectation to have some sales representatives for their company in Japan.

«Japanese consumers will enjoy our high-quality organic food. Ibelieve we can build a business network in this country,» he said.

One of the leaders of the delegation is Ms. Anna Vashina, CEO of ANNA Co., Ltd in Japan. She came to Japan eighteen years ago as a professional model and started her own company in Japan in 2023.
She has been trying to penetrate the Japanese wine market with high-quality Ukrainian products.

Big names like French, Chilean, and Italian dominate the wine market in Japan, but she was optimistic. She hoped that people here wouldfall in love with Ukrainian wine.

"Our slogan is «Brave people, brave wine». Although our Ukrainian wine is not familiar to Japanese consumers, they are surprised to see how good the quality is. We are not a small country. Our vineyard is four times larger than that of Germany". She said in perfect Japanese.

The great advantage of Ukrainian wine is its freedom. «Freedom from complicated rules in traditional wine-producing countries makes ourwine special. We have our local wine grape varieties. I believe thatJapanese consumers will accept our wine». She said.

A Japanese buyer who visited the Ukrainian pavilion said: "Ukraine used to be an unknown country for many Japanese, to tell the truth.
Now almost all Japanese know that Ukrainian people are fighting for justice and independence. Sympathy and solidarity are good reasons for consumers to try new foods. I hope everything goes well.

Kosuke SHIKIBA, an official at JETRO’s Overseas Business Support Center, also expects some developments in business between the two countries. «Supporting Ukraine is our priority. We will continue to do our best to strengthen business ties,» he said.

The two governments have agreed to strengthen cooperation.

On February 19, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan met with H. E. Mr. Denys SHMYHAL, Prime Minister of Ukraine, who was visiting Japan to attend the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promoting Economic Growthand Reconstruction.

Prime Minister Kishida said that the conference had producedremarkable results, including the signing of over 50 cooperationdocuments by the public and private sectors. Prime Minister Shmyhalexpressed his pleasure at the successful holding of today’s conferencethrough the cooperation of the two governments.

In the agricultural sector, a total of eight memoranda ofunderstanding (MOUs) were signed between six Japanese companies,including agricultural machinery manufacturers, and the Ministry ofAgrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine in the presence of the leaders of both countries.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan, it acted as a bridge between Japanese companies andthe Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine and coordinated the conclusion of these MOUs. MAFF will continue tosupport the efforts of the MOU companies and new cooperation companies
through the «Japan-Ukraine Joint Task Force on Agricultural Recovery Strategy», which was established in November last year together withthe Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine.

FOODEX JAPAN has been the leading food industrys global event since its inception in 1976.
The main theme of the 49th FOODEX Japan is «Total Solution of Food». Recent years, frozen foods, and food technologies including alternative foods have been gaining popularity due to socio-environmental changes such as increasing number of working women, and considerations for environmental sustainability.

Masaru YAMADA, Japan, member of IFAJ


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