Orders for raw mozuku increase
July 5, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
At Taiwan’s largest international food show held at the end of June, there were many new orders taken for goods such as mozuku. The largest number of companies from Okinawa to date, 17 in total, participated in the event and initiated 1032 business discussions. Among them, 18 business negotiations were concluded for a value of approximately 6.4 million yen, and another 80 are expected to close negotiations involving more than 140 million yen. The Naha-based trading company Arakaki Tsusho, received an order from a Japanese restaurant in Taipei for 500 kilograms a month of raw mozuku, a type of edible seaweed found around Okinawa. They also are discussing the potential for snacks made from mozuku.
Working with the Okinawa Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative, Arakaki Tsusho has searched for ways to take mozuku into the overseas market. Since March, they have been trying to find dishes acceptable to the Taiwanese palate in order to find ways to sell mozuku there. Arakaki Tsusho has prepared a brochure for the exhibition event, and in addition to using the term “Okinawan mozuku,” in attempt to appeal to the health-conscious Taiwanese, they have also applied for a trademark for the name “long-life seaweed.”
Arakaki Tsusho, which to date has mainly engaged in the trade of miscellaneous goods, has started talks about exporting raw mozuku. Harvesting mozuku produced in Okinawa, and controlling costs will be crucial issues for them. A company representative said, “To start with, an order of one ton of mozuku was discussed. We hope that this will trigger the start of ongoing business.”
At the exhibition event, Hamashoku Co. Ltd., of Okinawa City, which already exports dried mozuku to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States, also received an order for 1000 ten-gram bags of dried mozuku, an amount representing 5% of the average annual volume exported to Taiwan. They also are negotiating to secure an order for 10000 bags. The company has also received an order for 2000 units of 500-milligram bottles of Fucoidan ekisu, the essence of mozuku, from a trading company in Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan that takes 10% of the annual exports. These products will be shipped in August.
The food show called “Food Taipei 2012” was held from June 27 to 30, attracting food manufacturers and buyers from all over the world. The Japan External Trade Organization set up a “Japan Booth” and 67 companies from all over Japan participated, the largest number to date.
(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)
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