In 2016, Indonesia’s beef consumption was 1.84kg per capita (its population is 261 million), up from 1.45kg a decade earlier, according to business research firm Statista. By 2020, that figure is expected to rise to 1.96kg per capita and, by 2025, to 2.13kg per capita, through greater disposable income.
Japanese brands offering popular dishes such as steak, ‘gyudon’ (a bowl of thin strips of beef over rice) and ‘shabu-shabu’ (a hotpot of thinly sliced meat and vegetables cooked in water) are eyeing new openings, and Japanese meat producers are stepping up to meet demand.
Tokyo-based Reins International, which operates 130 restaurants worldwide (as of March 2017), launched its first Shabu-Shabu On-Yasai outlet in Indonesia in 2006. It has since expanded to 21 outlets (as of July 2018), but is predicting rapid growth, with a target of 50 outlets by 2020.
Jun Asakawa, overseas business division officer for Reins International, said the firm’s expansion was due to the burgeoning middle- and high-income groups within Indonesia and the rising demand for Japanese restaurants in general.
“Travellers to Japan [from Indonesia] are increasing and there is a greater supply of halal wagyu,” he added, pointing out that more people therefore have an appreciation for, and can eat, Japanese beef-based and wagyu-based cuisine.
The Pepper Lunch steakhouse, operated by Tokyo-based Pepper Food Service Co, opened its first outlet in Indonesia in 2006, following success in Singapore. It now has 52 outlets as of July 2018, according to Hiroshi Inokuma of the firm’s global business department.
Meanwhile, Yuriko Handa, spokesperson of Yoshinoya Holdings Co, also based in Tokyo, said its Yoshinoya beef bowl restaurants had expanded from one in June 2010 to 83 as of the end of June 2018.
Though wagyu is rising in demand, a spokespersons from two Japanese eatery chains expanding in Indonesia, which asked not to be named, reported that most of the halal wagyu consumed in the country was sourced from Australia and New Zealand.
Shabu-Shabu Onyasai also uses a local beef supplier and a wagyu supplier in Australia, but some of its wagyu is imported from Kagoshima, in Kyushu.
As of December 2017, only six plants in Japan had been certified to produce halal meat and export it to Indonesia, but Asakawa said: “Wagyu production areas in Japan are in the process of responding to Indonesia’s appetite for beef.”
Spokespeople from two of the plants, Kumamoto Prefecture’s Zenkai Meat Co and Tokushima Prefecture’s Nishiawa Beef Co, said the firms were poised for greater orders from Indonesia.