JETRO Hosted 42 Japanese Food Companies at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2020 in San Francisco

Jan 24, 2020


JETRO was proud to once again host a diverse group of Japanese food companies at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco from January 19-21, 2020. Organized by the Specialty Food Association, the conference garners over 1,400 food exhibitors and 80,000 specialty foods and beverages from around the world. Thousands of food professionals and entrepreneurs attend the event daily to learn about the latest food trends and exchange ideas.  

This year, JETRO hosted 42 Japanese food companies at the Japan Pavilion. Japanese foods and ingredients are famous worldwide for their rich umami flavors, nutritious content, and high quality. Moreover, each of Japan’s 47 prefecture are famous for different foods and ingredients, many of which were well represented at the Food Show. Among the plethora of Japanese products that attendees sampled this year included wagyu beef, unagi, mochi, sweet potatoes, onigiri, yuzu drinks, and various confectionaries.

Many of the participating Japanese food companies, hoping to connect with the conference attendees, were well-received. Kuze Fuku & Sons, originally from Nagano Prefecture with manufacturing in Oregon, showcased their apple cider vinegar-based yuzu beverages. Yuzu, an aromatic fruit with a tangy lemon-orange flavor, has become a recent food trend in many cocktail bars and dessert cafes across America. The drinks produced from Kuze Fuku & Sons can be found in larger organic stores throughout the west coast and feature various apple vinegar flavors aside from yuzu, like grape and strawberry.

House of Wagyu (K&K International, Inc.) proved to be very popular with attendees by serving samples of their premium A5 wagyu beef. Wagyu beef has become renowned throughout the world for its beautiful marbling of fat and its succulent texture that is akin to butter. While it can be an expensive product, it is also considered one of the finest meats in the world, and a staple among beef connoisseurs. House of Wagyu was serving wagyu meat from cows raised in Miyazaki Prefecture, which they cooked just slightly and served with premium salt and wasabi. While their company imports wagyu directly from Japan, their company’s operations are in Torrance, CA.

Michimoto Foods Co. of Miyazaki Prefecture provided samples of dried Japanese yams to interested onlookers. Yams in Japan are particularly famous for their naturally sweet, sugary tastes, and are eaten in many ways, including from roadside trucks that are BBQ’d in tinfoil and eaten whole, as side dishes cooked with black sesame, or even as ice cream. Michimoto Foods’ manufactures dried Japanese yams which have a milder but still sweet taste that is perfect as a healthy snack. They also sell pickled radishes, which are commonly eaten in Japan.

Miyano Foods Co. of Niigata Prefecture presented samples of one of Japan’s most famous confectionaries, mochi, in a healthy and modern way. Mochi are rice cakes made from mochigome (short-grain rice) that is pounded into a paste and shaped into different ways, though typically spherical. Their texture is jelly-like with a variety of flavors, including matcha, strawberry, and red bean. They are commonly sold on food stands throughout Japan and typically eaten for New Years. Miyano Foods manufactures sugar-free mochi designed for younger, more health-conscious people. Their white bean, matcha, and mango-coconut flavors proved as delicious as regular mochi.

The aforementioned Japanese food companies were representative of the 42 companies hoping to further expand their products to America and the rest of the world. They are a testament to Japan’s rich food industry, and symbolic of the influence Japanese cuisine has had on the rest of the world.