ASOEX’s Citrus Committee, together with ProChile, officially launched the first campaign to promote Chilean lemons in Japan by holding two days of promotional activities, which included tastings and sharing information about this product. The goal of the activity was to promote greater consumption of this Chilean citrus, as well as to inform people about its availability, high quality, and so that the Japanese know that the lemons they consume in summer come from Chile.

The actions took place under the celebration of the 120 years of diplomatic relations between Chile and Japan, which is why they were held at the Chilean Embassy in Japan, where representatives of specialized media and Japan’s 15 most important importing companies could taste the various preparations based on Chilean lemons.

According to Monserrat Valenzuela, the General Manager of the Citrus Committee, the Committee officially launched its first promotional program of Chilean lemons in Japan. “Our Committee makes various efforts to promote our oranges, lemons, mandarins and clementines in key markets worldwide, such as the United States, which is our main market, and Japan, which is the main consumer of our lemons in Asia,” she said.

She also said that Chile had exported more than 76 thousand tons of lemons in 2016, more than 19,970 of which were sent to Asia, where Japan accounted for 86% of that volume. The Chilean citrus season takes place in Japan’s counter-season and it is available between mid-June to October, that is, in the summer of that Asian country.

Regarding the tastings, Charif Christian Carvajal, the Marketing Director of ASOEX for the markets of Europe and Asia, and representing the Citrus Committee of Chile, stated: “The first day we met with Japan’s main citrus importers, who got to learn more about our industry and taste various preparations based on our citrus. The second meeting was organized especially for representatives of the media and social networks, with the aim of sensitizing these professionals on the quality and versatility of this Chilean product, as well as giving them information that would allow them to know our industry.”

Both meetings were held at the Chilean Embassy in Japan, where the guests were welcomed by Gustavo Ayares, Chile’s Ambassador to that country, as well as by Mikhail Marzuqa Butto, Director of ProChile in Japan, and Charif Christian Carvajal, who represented the Citrus Committee.

The Chilean Ambassador delivered a speech in which he highlighted the safety, quality and sustainability of the Chilean lemons, as well as how important Japan was as a destination for this fruit. Following this, the guests were able to taste different dishes based on this Chilean fruit, which were prepared by the outstanding Chef Hideo Ogawa, who is the Head Chef in the prestigious Toro de Tokyo Latin restaurant, and is one of the most sought after chefs to make caterings in The Latin American embassies of that country.

Parallel to the tasting the representative of ASOEX made a presentation on Chile’s lemon industry. Carvajal stressed that the Chilean citrus industry was organized through the Citrus Committee, which accounted for nearly 80% of Chile’s citrus exports.

ProChile’s Commercial Director in Japan, Mikhael Marzuqa, said that ProChile’s office in Japan supported the actions carried out by ASOEX’s Citrus Committee to promote the Chilean lemons among the Japanese population.

The representative of ProChile said that, “the Chef was able to teach journalists from specialized media, as well as bloggers, instagramers, nutritionists, students of gastronomy and importers how to integrate the Chilean citrus to the Japanese diet, through novel preparations.”

Regarding the characteristics of the Japanese consumer, Marzuga said: “The Japanese population is mainly composed of older people, which is a group that has a significant purchasing power compared to other countries and that demands novel products, which is why it is important to show them the different ways in which they can consume our fruits.”