The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas
Interview of Suppoter Stores City Market
Luxury grocery store in Mexico. Committed to selling the highest quality Japanese Wagyu beef
Mexico City / Mexico
Relive the dining experiences abroad in Mexico
City Market is a luxury grocery store operated by major supermarket La Comer. Its product lineup boasts foods from around the world that have passed strict inspection and are recognized as of the highest quality. In search of safe, reliable, high-quality foods, buyers collect information from around the world. Carefully selected food products are sold in 12 stores in Mexico, mainly in large cities such as Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. The 4,000 or so customers who visit City Market every day are of various nationalities, but the main customers are Mexicans who have travelled abroad. The store is always thriving with customers who have rich overseas experience and deep appreciation of other cultures. At City Market, they can recreate the food experiences that they have enjoyed around the world, and it is notable that there are many repeat customers who come to the store with a specific purpose. "The foods at City Market are carefully selected from around the world. You always have to sell foods that are guaranteed to be of the highest quality," says Heraldo Rodriguez, head of the meat department.
Reasons for selling Wagyu beef
With regard to Japanese-made food ingredients, City Market is expanding sale of Kobe beef, one of the three major brands of Japanese Wagyu beef. "From importing Kobe beef through to selling it, various obstacles existed, such as securing reliable business partners. However, amongst the many brands of beef, Kobe beef is well known worldwide, and we couldn’t give up on offering our customers this guaranteed best quality beef," says Heraldo. In 2016, City Market started selling Wagyu beef produced in Mexico and, in April 2018, began selling Kobe beef produced in Japan. These have an excellent reputation with customers. They have greatly impressed discerning customers, and the amount sold is increasing year by year. Sales are particularly good in the stores in Monterrey, a city in northern Mexico. Monterrey is one of the leading beef producing areas in Mexico. People here are particular about their beef, and have a very discerning palate. Wagyu beef is accepted and loved by people who know the real thing.
In recent years, the number of Japanese restaurants in Mexico has increased and Mexicans have become familiar with Japanese food. Along with this, the market for Japanese food in Mexico is expanding year by year. The store management says it is considering further training of sales staff and holding tasting events, etc., so that more people can understand the appeal of Wagyu beef. Due to its confidence in the natural taste and quality of Wagyu beef, the store can focus on expanding Wagyu beef sales.
Committed to providing best quality Wagyu beef
"There are a lot of repeat customers who buy Kobe beef, and they are very satisfied with its quality and taste. Most customers ask if they can buy it in other areas or stores," says Gabriel Robles, head of meat sales at the Plaza Carzo store.
In Mexico, which is a long way from Japan, it is not easy to maintain Wagyu beef at its best quality. City Market has established a system for providing customers with the highest quality Wagyu beef. This consists of a thoroughly enforced procedure in which, "Wagyu beef is delivered in a frozen state to the store. After being received, it is checked to ensure it is of the highest quality and stored in a freezer. Only the beef to be sold on that day is cut and defrosted. The beef is then kept fresh by vacuum packing. If two days have passed since defrosting, then the meat is not sold. The first priority is to provide customers with Wagyu beef of the highest quality."
Wagyu and Kobe beef are well known. However, many customers still do not know the best way to cook Wagyu beef, and visitors to the store often ask questions about how it should be cooked. "We suggest dishes that suit the state of the meat, such as steak, yakiniku, or shabu-shabu. The Plaza Carzo store has an in-store restaurant that offers hamburgers, etc., made from Wagyu beef. Customers can directly ask the restaurant chef about how things should be cooked. Through trial and error, we increase customer satisfaction, and allow customers to appreciate the appeal of Wagyu beef." However, it is not common for Mexicans to blanch thinly sliced meat, as is done with shabu-shabu, and so staff are considering setting up a recipe video in the store’s meat section that visually illustrates the new Wagyu beef cooking method for customers. The plan is to focus even more than before on customer education that allows customers to experience and learn the "new sense of values" provided by the deliciousness of Wagyu beef.
Working to provide customers with the highest quality Japanese-made food products
In addition to Wagyu beef, the store offers other Japanese-made food products, such as sake, whisky and beer. The store is always looking for the highest quality foods. "Currently, we are working by various means on providing black pork produced in Japan. We want City Market customers to experience the delicious taste of black pork," says Heraldo.
Utilizing its network of 12 stores in major Mexican cities, and its sales experience with Japanese-made food ingredients such as Wagyu beef, City Market will, in cooperation with JETRO, continue to rise to the challenge of promoting and selling a wide variety of best quality Japanese-made food ingredients.
- City Market Plaza Carso Branch
Address: Calle Lago Zurich 245, Amp Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Telephone number: 55 5280 1989