Japanese Reporters See - and Taste - U.S. Food Sorghum

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

A team of Japanese national news reporters and bloggers visited California this week to learn the latest developments in using sorghum in food, gaining accurate information and firsthand observations to share with interested audiences back home.

The learning journey was one of approximately 30 trade teams that visited the United States this year to see how U.S. coarse grain products are produced and prepared for export. These teams are a central part of the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC's) and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program's (USCP's) efforts to both promote direct sales of U.S. coarse grains and ensure the marketplace is open to what U.S. farmers produce, including sorghum for food use.

The team visited restaurants and bakeries in the Los Angeles area that utilize sorghum in their dishes to see how sorghum could be presented and cooked. The team also stopped at retail stores to see sorghum being sold to consumers in the United States. All of this helped members of the team gain a greater understanding of how sorghum can be part of a healthy diet and how it can be presented attractively to consumers.

While Japan's outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. sorghum totaled only 71,362 metric tons (2.8 million bushels) for the 2014/2015 marketing year - and only a portion of that is being used for food products - the Council believes Japan's health-oriented consumers are a promising audience for food products made from U.S. sorghum.

Through teams like the one visiting this week and other promotional events held in Japan, the Council believes Japanese consumers will learn the benefits of U.S. sorghum as a value-added food ingredient and, in turn, help create new demand for the product.

Click here to view more photos from this team.