A year and a half since “the highest award”
Nagasaki Prefecture is also known for its long history of stock farming in mountainous areas, a process that relies on the abundance of nature. It was October 2012 when beef representing Nagasaki Prefecture won the Prime Minister’s Award (honorary award), which is the highest award in the beef category in a competition for meat quality in the National Wagyu Capacity Livestock Shows. One and a half years have passed since then, and the effects of winning the award and issues have now become evident.
The competition is held once every five years, and for that reason it’s referred to as the Wagyu Olympics. The fact that Nagasaki Wagyu beef won the award was extremely significant, since it indicated the penetration of Nagasaki Wagyu’s brand value and the restoration of the Unzen district, which had suffered amid the eruption of Mt. Unzen-Fugendake.
The recognition that came with this award provided a perfect opportunity for Nagasaki Wagyu to represent the entire Kyushu region in promoting its brand beef throughout the country. Local meat wholesalers have held display sales in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and numerous event sales have been held at major department stores in Tokyo. Moreover, large-scale promotion activities have been carried out in collaboration with municipal governments. As a result, Nagasaki Wagyu beef has been featured by the mainstream media, and this has contributed to the improvement of the brand image and recognition of Nagasaki Wagyu.
Insufficient information dissemination
Nagasaki Wagyu’s name recognition has been substantially increased over the past year and a half. However, there has been a lack of information on where Nagasaki Wagyu beef can be found.
A representative of local meat wholesalers said, “Even among consumers who have become interested in trying Nagasaki Wagyu after watching the TV commercials, there may not be so many who have actually tasted it. In addition to publicizing the accomplishment of winning the award, it’s necessary to actively disseminate information on the meat distributors that carry the brand beef. Once we see an increase in the number of stores selling the best Wagyu in Japan, it becomes easier for consumers to purchase Nagasaki Wagyu, which will enhance their buying motivation. Then, meat dealers will also want to carry Nagasaki Wagyu. By establishing this cycle, the national market value and brand power of Nagasaki Wagyu will improve significantly.”
Despite the problem of insufficient awareness, the sales strategy carried out in cooperation between the public and private sectors has gradually yielded success, which, in the long run, has the potential to lead to increased income for stock farmers and the revitalization of the local economy.
Expectations are great in regard to the further development of the Nagasaki Wagyu, the greatest beef in Japan.