Jumping High Hurdles: US White Sorghum in Japan

White sorghum Japan

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

White sorghum, currently a niche market in Japan, is a beneficial flour ingredient for those with allergies to wheat gluten. While awareness is growing, however, white sorghum has yet to be fully recognized by Japanese customers as a food ingredient.

The U.S. Grains Council recognized this hurdle and began coordinating a multi-dimensional promotional effort in food uses of sorghum.

Opening Doors for Low Oil DDGS in Japan


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

One of the U.S. Grains Council's great success stories in recent years has been the development of a robust global market for distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS). But the product is changing. The recent industry trend of removing oil from DDGS means that international buyers have to be re-educated about a differentiated product stream, with new implications for feed formulations.

Hamamoto Honored for Five Years of Service

Tommy Hamamoto

Ask Tommy Hamamoto about his five years of service with the U.S. Grains Council, and he will tell you about the importance of human-to-human relationships in maintaining the largest U.S. export market for feed grains.

"When I joined the Council, I was excited to lead the Japan office representing U.S. feed grain farmers," Hamamoto says. "My hope was to build the relationship not only between business and business but also between people, based on trust."

Health Ingredients Show a Hit in Japan: Council Features Sorghum and Beta-Glucan Barley

Health Ingredients Show a Hit in Japan

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

Japanese consumers are among the world's most health conscious, and last week's Health Ingredients Show in Japan drew more than 40,000 visitors including food manufacturers, journalists, and representatives of trading houses.

Global Corn Demand Up: Where is it Going

This week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week shows the USDA's projected global corn trade in 2013/14. According to USDA global corn trade will be 102.1 million metric tons (4 billion bushels) in 2013/14, up from 97.6 million tons (3.8 billion bushels) in 2012/13. The top 10 corn importing countries account for 68 million tons (2.7 billion bushels) – about two-thirds of global corn trade.

USGC Improves Japanese Confidence in Low Oil DDGS

Japanese Corn

Japanese importers have noticed that the U.S. ethanol industry has been utilizing corn oil extraction equipment, which removes a portion of the non-food grade corn oil in distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) during the ethanol production process, making the oil available for other use. This also changes the feeding characteristics and potential value of DDGS, as regular DDGS may contain 10-12 percent oil (fat), while the low-oil variety may contain 6-9 percent.

Maintaining a Top US Corn Customer

corn cob by Steve Riggs

U.S. corn has traditionally enjoyed over 95 percent of the market share in the Japanese milling industry. This past year, however, the U.S. share dropped to around 80 percent due to the U.S. drought and the emergence of competitive suppliers. The U.S. Grains Council is seeking to recapture U.S. market share with one of the United States' largest customers for corn through rebuilding Japanese miller's confidence in U.S. corn.

New Japanese Barley Products Generate Potential for US Exports

Beta Glucan

New food products using an extract from U.S. barley hit Japanese shelves September 1. Japan has traditionally consumed barley in teas, liquors, and cereals, and now Japan's aging and highly health conscious population coupled has created new interest in beta-glucan barley as well. According to U.S. research, beta-glucan found in U.S. barley has heart healthy properties such as reducing cholesterol.

Japanese Biotech Team Assesses U.S. Technology Growth and Regulatory System

Japan has a well-developed regulatory system for biotechnology but its biotech event approval system is challenged to keep current with the many new biotech events posed in the near future. While this challenge is not unique to Japan, the volume of U.S. corn exports to Japan adds a special urgency to the need to avoid disruption to the trade. Japan imports 10-15 million metric tons (393.7-590.5 million bushels) of U.S. corn a year, which means that both Japanese end-users and U.S.

The Grain Trade is “in the MICKs”

With the recent summit held in Durban, South Africa, it appears as though BRICS are changing from an acronym used to describe a loose alliance of Brazil's, Russia's, India's, China's and South Korea's national economies to a global economic agenda. However, don't expect the BRICS to be leading the world in corn imports. Kevin Roepke, U.S. Grains Council manager of global trade, has coined his own developing nation alliance of grain imports term, or in other words, a "BRICS of the global grain trade."


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