USSEC Participates in 20th National Natto Competition in Japan; Red River Valley U.S. Award Winner Named
USSEC Japan participated in the 20th National Natto Competition held in Mito, Ibaragi Prefecture, Japan. The competition was organized by the Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation to sponsor and demonstrate the U.S. Soy industry’s commitment for the newly established Red River U.S. Award. USSEC established the U.S. Soybean Prize Category in the National Natto Competition in 2011 in collaboration with the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA). Because this year marked the 20th Anniversary of the National Natto Competition, Mito, the birthplace of natto, was selected as the event location.
The U.S. team members included Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo David Miller; NFGSA representative Bob Sinner; and USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization Manager and Japan Human Utilization Director Masi Tateishi.
David Miller provided opening comments at the reception in Japanese, saying, “First, we are very pleased to be able to establish this relationship through natto, a Japanese traditional food. Beginning this year, a new health claim labeling system will be established in Japan and we expect it will provide the natto Industry with an opportunity to show itself as a healthy and functional food. We hope the Japanese natto industry will promote natto more aggressively in the U.S., taking advantage of the ongoing Japanese food boom. By doing that, we wish to strengthen Japan-U.S. partnership through natto in a healthier and more sustainable way.”
Takahashi Shokuhin Kougyou was announced as the winner of the 5th Red River Valley U.S. Award, awarded in Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture. Next year’s natto competition will be held in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, a fishery city where large sections of the city were destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake & tsunami on March 11, 2011. As part of the relief effort, USSEC will continue to commit to supply the Japanese natto industry with 80 percent of its natto needs with U.S. Soy, which will further strengthen U.S. identity preserved (IP) soy sales and preserve customer loyalty to U.S. Soy.