Sometimes our work is too pretty to eat!
To raise awareness of U.S. white sorghum among consumers, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) office in Japan hosted a sorghum focaccia art contest through Instagram in late 2020.
In addition to providing an option for health-conscious Japanese consumers, sorghum flour maintains its light coloring when baked – creating a pure white focaccia canvas that can be decorated with colorful vegetables.
Around 200 focaccia art entries were submitted and, last month, USGC held an awards ceremony to celebrate the winners, Erica Angyal, nutrition consultant and author; Chanda Berk, Agricultural Trade Office Tokyo Director; and an award recipient from Tokyo.
“Many participants commented that they really enjoyed the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen and bake something new,” said Michiyo Hoshizawa, USGC program and administrative manager in Japan. “Food sorghum in Japan represents a small, niche market. However, this specialized market provides another value-added opportunity for U.S. sorghum farmers.”
The art contest was the latest in USGC’s long-term effort to promote white food sorghum and white sorghum flour in the Japanese market. In the past, the Council has partnered with food journals to publish recipes featuring U.S. sorghum and arranged a food sorghum roundtable to exchange information between Japanese food industry representatives and U.S. farmers.
As a result of these educational programs, the Japanese market now includes more than 50 food products with sorghum as an ingredient. Japanese food sorghum demand remains small but steady at around 200 metric tons, or roughly 7,900 bushels, per year.
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.