Vegetable growers benefit from Queensland government’s export assistance

A precooked, ready-to-eat beetroot product called Love Beets has caught the attention of one of Japan’s largest fruit and vegetable importers.

Love Beets, which is produced by Queensland company One Harvest, is now available in retail stores across Japan.

Love Beets was introduced to Japan as a result of a partnership by Trade and Investment Queensland and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries designed to boost vegetable exports and build long-term business relationships, according to Trade and Investment Advisor Bronwyn Warfield.

“Beetroot is the latest vegetable to be exported to Japan as a result of this initiative, which has also introduced Queensland broccoli, radish, zucchini, red cabbage and carrots to the market,” Ms Warfield said.

“Queensland producers can look forward to many more of their products going to Japan in the coming months as the Queensland Government continues to work closely with Japanese importers.”

In the last three financial years Queensland has exported $1.5 million of carrots, turnips and salad beetroots to Japan to become our largest export market for these products.

Japanese importer Wismettac is distributing Love Beets through retail stores across Japan. The company is one of the most respected Japanese specialist food trading companies with a history of more than 100 years, 160 offices worldwide and sales of 170 billion yen (A$2.06 billion) per annum

One Harvest Business Manager Sales and Marketing, Sarah Huntley, said the business is expanding exports to Asia.

“We are now exporting Love Beets to eight countries,” Ms Huntley said. “Wismettac has a wide distribution network throughout Japan and we are very excited it has decided to get behind our product and introduce it to Japanese consumers.”

Ms Huntley said government guidance has helped immensely.
“In markets such as Japan its vital to have an in-market presence and Trade and Investment Queensland Tokyo office has provided us with invaluable on the ground support,” she said.

“These exports are a great example of industry and government working in partnership which is an essential ingredient for export success particularly in Asia.”

General Manager of Wismettac, Yoshimitsu Chiba, said beetroot was not a vegetable with which Japanese are familiar but consumers love the colour and variety it adds to salads.

“Love Beets is a new product to the Japanese market and we have introduced it to eight retail chains and 178 stores,” Mr Chiba said.
“We are working very closely with retailers to educate consumers about beetroot, how to use it, store it. We are also doing in-store sampling to provide further encouragement to purchase.”

Mr Chiba said there are many opportunities for Queensland’s fruit and vegetable growers in Japan: “We work with suppliers around the world, but Japanese consumers have a very high regard for Australian product and farmers,” he said.

“Australia is seen as safe and reliable supplier of good quality food. We are also keen to continue to expand our footprint in Queensland.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner met Wismettac CEO Mr Tsujikawa, with Mr Chiba, in September during a trade mission to Japan and saw Love Beets displayed and sold in store.

Mr Chiba said the company was very appreciative of this opportunity.

“We have been particularly encouraged to work with Queensland due to the strong government support, and because of its commitment to the Japanese market as its key market, the Queensland Government understands our business culture and other focus on long term mutually beneficial relationships,” Mr Chiba said.

Love Beets are sold in Queensland through most major food retailers and some smaller speciality food chains. In 2017-18, Japan was Queensland’s 14th largest export market for fruit and vegetables, valued at $16.7 million.

For more information: 
Bronwyn Warfield 
Tel: +61 418 783 404
Email: Bronwyn.warfield@tiq.qld.gov.au


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