Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 83 of 159

FOODS IN FOCUS Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 704 The Aftermath Last September, the Japan Times reported that a total of 75.6 per- cent of food business operators were affected by the March 2011 disaster. Of those impacted, 61.7 percent suffered sales declines. Although most physical damage was restricted to the northeastern part of the country, the wide-ranging effects left the food supply chain in a state of uncertainty. "It wasn't just food-manufacturing facilities that were damaged or destroyed—there were also companies that supplied contain- ers and wrappers that suffered, disrupting the supply chain," says Shin Hirota, director of business development and food business for the Los Angeles branch of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a nonprofit, government-related organization that pro- motes trade and investment with Japan. Hardest hit was the Tohoku region: the Akita, Aomori, Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 3411 Offering a large assortment of International and Domestic Brands. Visit us for more information and great show specials! 6605 Broadmoor Ave SE Caledonia, MI 49316 USA P. 800.875.5557 E. www.gourmetint.com sales@gourmetint.com Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures. Many of the affected food businesses were producers of sake, rice, tea, processed fruits and vegetables and seafood. The disaster caused product shortages, heightened surveillance of foods over radiation concerns and uncertainty over the availability of future product. Overcoming Obstacles with U.S. Supply While humanitarian efforts were at their peak following the earth- quake (see sidebar, p. 85), many companies were faced with immedi- ate challenges. "We couldn't help wondering what effect this horrible event would have on sales," says Jonathan Milo Leal, founder of Vino de Milo, Athens, Ohio, which exports to Japan. Yet Leal was not sur- prised by the country's determination to return to normal. "Japan is resilient and tough. Our importer, Nishimoto—one of the oldest and most experienced importers and distributors of Asian food products in North America—was quick to respond to our calls, Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 3411 82 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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