TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The Japan Livestock Industry Association has created a new logo for overseas promotion of wagyu beef that more clearly shows the meat was produced in Japan.
The association, which supports livestock breeders, has removed the word "WAGYU," part of the current logo, and instead added "JAPAN" in large letters.
The new version will debut at home and abroad in April.
Organisations in the industry define "wagyu" as purebreds or crossbreeds from four breeds, including Japanese Black. Introduced in 2007, the current logo has been displayed abroad on restaurant menus and wagyu products in stores to promote beef produced in Japan.
Shelves in Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries, however, also stock Australian "wagyu," whose definition and flavour differ from the Japanese wagyu product.
The Australian variety dates back to the 1990s, when wagyu was exported from Japan. Crossbreeds of the Japanese wagyu and Australian cattle have been sold as "wagyu," but their taste has been described as more bland than authentic wagyu.
The association decided to create the new logo after workers at trading houses and other facilities voiced concern that the current logo with the word "WAGYU" could cause people to confuse Japanese wagyu with Australian products.
Though not explicitly created to counter imitation wagyu products rampant in Asia, the new design is expected to help authentic wagyu products stand out among fake brands.
Thanks to its surging popularity, the export value of Japanese beef was about ¥13.6 billion (S$169million) in 2016, more than 20 times the 2006 figure of ¥600 million, according to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.