Cornbread growing in Japan
A taste of Americana is becoming a favourite in Japan, with cornbread having grown into a new food trend among Japanese bakers. To help with this phenomenon, the United States Grains Council has launched a new website dedicated exclusively to cornbread.
April 3, 2008 By United States Grains Council
April 3, 2008
Washington -According to the United States Grains Council’s Tokyo office, cornbread has grown into a new food trend in Japan among professional and home bakers. In an attempt to ride the wave of cornbread’s popularity in the country, the Council’s Corn Food Promotion Program contractor, Satoshi Saito, has initiated a Web site dedicated to informing Japanese customers about the food. The Corn Food Promotion Program is a joint effort between the Council and Japanese corn milling and food industries. The aim is to introduce new corn foods which allow Japanese corn millers to remain in the food industry despite a shrinking market. Decreasing corn grit consumption in the beer and snack industries have contributed to this market change. The newly launched Web site, simply titled "cornbread" (www.cornbread.jp/) uses historical stories, movies and books to advertise the product.
“The Web site is a good resource for people who are just hearing about cornbread for the first time,” said Hiroko Sakashita, associate director of USGC’s Tokyo office. “The site introduces the characteristics of corn grits, meal and flour which Japanese millers are producing. This helps Japanese consumers find the right type of grits with the right particle size needed for their cooking,” she said.
According to Sakashita, Japan’s supermarkets currently do not carry bags or boxes of prepackaged cornbread mix. The Web site will also include cornbread recipes targeting a Japanese audience. For example, the site’s recipes use conventional milk or plain yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, an essential ingredient for baking southern-style cornbread but a product not available in Japan. Although the site has just been launched, it is expected to grow as more information, recipes and links are added. In addition to its online initiative, Sakashita said the Corn Food Promotion Program is also producing promotional articles and ads to be published in magazines targeting those in Japan’s food industry, especially professional chefs, restaurant and café owners.
“The articles quote the Web site as an appropriate resource of cornbread information,” she said. By collaborating with Japanese corn millers, the Council’s Tokyo office will continue its work promoting cornbread to increase demand for corn food products made by Japan’s corn dry milling sector. Such efforts will develop a new demand for this shrinking market, which tends to buy high quality value-enhanced corn.