JFOODO kicks off largest saké campaign in Hong Kong

The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Centre (JFOODO) has launched a new campaign called Seafood×Sake, which aims to promote saké as the best alcohol pairing for seafood.

Established in April 2017, JFOODO (The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center), part of the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO), aims to promote the branding of Japanese agricultural, forestry, fishery and food products abroad.

Last week, the organisation launched a promotional campaign called “Seafood×Sake” in Hong Kong to further drive saké sales volume from another dimension. The goal of the campaign is to reinforce the food pairing concept that “saké is the best alcoholic beverage for seafood”.

The four different saké categories, namely Kun-shu (fragrant), Juku-shu (mature), So-shu (light) and Jun-shu (rich), each have different flavour characteristics, which work well with an array of dishes prepared by various cooking styles and methods.

Hong Kong is ideal for promoting the concept as the city boasts a vast fresh seafood consumption thanks to the long established Cantonese food culture. JFOODO is working closely with eateries in town, from high-end establishments to casual dining, to promote food and saké pairings with six strategies.

Firstly, 50 renowned restaurants, including Michelin-starred Bo Innovation, Forum Restaurant and Tate Dining Room and Bar, will promote the idea of saké pairing with seafood via thematic pairing menus and discount promotions.

Secondly, JFOODO will place extensive adverts through various mass channels, for example, television, billboard and social.

Thirdly its marketing campaign will provide frequent updates that will include the participation in the annual Wine & Dine Festival, a dedicated Facebook page and website, and promotion through influencers.

The organisation will also create a hashtag #seafoodlovessake to encourage check-ins on social media and will give away complimentary Wine & Dine Festival tickets or saké pairing menu experiences.

JFOODO will provide promotional materials and media coverage to support restaurant partners, which are not confined to serving just Japanese cuisine. The organisation will also provide saké professionals, which are available upon restaurants’ request, to assist in pairing menu design and frontline staff training.

As domestic Japanese saké consumption plummets, the industry has turned to putting more emphasis on exports. Last year, a new export record was set, with overseas sales totalling ¥22.2 billion, exceeding ¥20 billion for the first time and the largest export quantity totalling 25,700 kiloliters (approximately 14 million 1.8 litre bottles).

The United States was the top destination for saké exports, accounting for nearly 30% of all shipments and ¥6.313 billion in sales. It was followed by Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

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