The Next Two Years Crucial for Promotion of Food Barley in Japan

The Next Two Years Crucial for Promotion of Food Barley in Japan

By: Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director in Japan

Japanese consumers are among the world's most health-conscious and make an excellent audience for information about the value and benefits of U.S. barley as a food ingredient. For more than four years, the U.S. Grains Council has been promoting beta-glucan barley as a heart healthy food ingredient, since U.S. research found beta-glucan barley to have properties that may lower cholesterol.

To promote beta-glucan barley at high-end cooking schools, the Council in 2009 hired Chinami Hamauchi, a known expert in healthy eating habits, to provide cooking demonstrations using beta-glucan barley from Hakubaku Company, the largest U.S. food barley user in Japan.

This past month, Hamauchi was selected as a key opinion leader for Ohumugi (Barley) Supporters Club, a newly formed public relations branch of the Japanese Council of Barley Food Promotion. As a leader of the Barley Supporters Club, she will create new health-oriented dishes using barley and beta-glucan barley.

Hamauchi being selected as a key opinion leader by the Japanese industry was based on her work with the Council promoting food barley. Barley is gaining visibility, and it should be considered a success for Hamauchi to be a leader in the Japanese food barley industry.

With Hamauchi positioned as an expert, promotion by the Barley's Supporters Club expanding and beta-glucan barley products on the market by Ootsuka, a major food health oriented food manufacturer, 2014 and 2015 will be key years for beta-glucan barley promotion in Japan. Because we have laid the groundwork over the past four years, this is an opportunity that the Council will not miss.