DENVER – Ebara Foods, the largest yakiniku seasoning manufacturer in Japan, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation are conducting a joint summer barbecue promotion of U.S. pork back ribs in Japan. U.S.M.E.F. predicts the promotion will help sell about 400 metric tons (882,000 lbs.) of U.S. back ribs and spare ribs.

Ebara Foods created a TV commercial for its most popular yakiniku sauce, Yakiniku Golden Sauce, that shows how well-suited it is for pork ribs in preparation for the summer barbecue season. With support from the Pork Checkoff Program, U.S.M.E.F. worked with Ebara to develop a commercial starring the well-known music group, V-6, cooking and enjoying U.S. pork back ribs on the grill. Here is a link to the commercial:

U.S.M.E.F. and Ebara also developed special retail point-of-sale recipe cards featuring the U.S. pork logo, with funding from the Pork Checkoff, U.S.D.A.'s Market Access Program and the United Soybean Board. Ebara and U.S.M.E.F. met with major national and regional retailers in hopes of getting their interest in the promotion. As a result, an estimated 1,300 outlets from Aeon, Ito Yokado, Seiyu, Life, Izumi and Inageya have signed on for the two-month promotion.

"This is the first time U.S.M.E.F. has conducted this kind of cross-merchandising event with Ebara, and we feel it will significantly raise the awareness of U.S. pork back ribs among Japanese consumers," said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director for U.S.M.E.F.-Japan. "Ebara's established reputation, along with the television commercials and recipe cards, will actively support the sales of U.S. back ribs and spare ribs."

Ebara also funded a $3 million TV ad campaign that depicts its sauces used on three barbecue items, one of which is U.S. pork ribs.

Japan is the leading value market for U.S. pork exports through the first five months of 2010, buying more than 397 million lbs. of product valued at more than $671 million.