Japan the priority for Oregon exports with officials seeking to build on Ajinomoto relationship

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Officials from Oregon have embarked on trade mission to Japan to drum up support for its food exports including with Ajinomoto, which already has a frozen food site in the US state. ©iStock
Officials from Oregon have embarked on trade mission to Japan to drum up support for its food exports including with Ajinomoto, which already has a frozen food site in the US state. ©iStock

Related tags: Food, Food preservation

Officials from Oregon have embarked on trade mission to Japan to drum up support for its food exports – and will also meet industry heavyweight Ajinomoto, which has a frozen food site in the US state.

Ajinomoto’s North Portland Windsor Foods plant manufactures over 80 types of frozen foods, and Oregon state governor Kate Brown is keen to build on the relationship.

She is leading a delegation of food manufacturers and industry experts to East Asia to greater promote Oregon food and agriculture.

Companies on the trip include Willamette Valley Fruit Company, OFD Foods, Northwest Hazelnut, Ponzi Vineyards, 2 Towns Cider, Bossco Trading, Weaver Seed Processing and Pacific Seafood.

“For someone who has been exporting into Japan already, we can introduce them to new buyers or to new markets in Japan,”​ said Oregon Department of Agriculture director Alexis Taylor. “For the first-time exporter, we will help them learn about the Japanese market, the taste profiles, what the Japanese consumer is looking for from American products, and how you brand and market the product.”

The importance of Asian business

As Oregon doesn’t have a population large enough to consume its produce, export is of prime importance to the state.

“More than $1.5 billion of agricultural goods from Oregon go to Japan every year,”​ stated Taylor.

One of the big food industry players Brown will meet is Ajinomoto Co Inc, one of Japan's largest food processors with an expanding presence in Oregon. The meeting will be centred on further business development.

The governor will be involved in events such as the “Oregon Ingredient Showcase" and a “Doing Business in Oregon” seminar targeting Japanese food processing companies that may want to open operations in the state.

Meanwhile, a taste test using four different craft ciders from Oregon will be held.

In the past three years alone, Oregon has gone from having zero craft ciders in the Japanese market to eight brands.

Hong Kong will be another stopping point on the trip, where recently-introduced Cathay Pacific direct cargo flights to and from Portland have boosted the state’s fresh produce exports.

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