On 28 August, the British Embassy Tokyo hosted a special event to unveil the launch of ‘Food is GREAT: A Taste of Britain’ - a new campaign that is encouraging more Japanese consumers, businesses and media to take a fresh bite into the rapidly-changing world of modern British food and drink.
As part of the UK government’s global GREAT Campaign, launched by David Cameron in 2011 to deliver a lasting legacy from the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the British Embassy Tokyo and Consulate-General Osaka are teaming up with partners from the private sector for this dedicated food and drink campaign unique to Japan, after market research revealed that not only do many Japanese consumers not have a clear image in their minds of what British food and drink really is, but many more have not tried it themselves - instead relying on outdated information.
A growing wave of consumer interest in the UK about the food and drink they eat, cook and buy has given birth to a burgeoning industry that prides itself on quality products served in an experience to be savoured. The UK is now home to more than 150 Michelin star restaurants in the UK; a new breed of British chefs whose recipes are being served around the world; and a new generation of gastro-pubs serving affordable but quality food and drinks to visitors.
Presentations were given at the launch event to announce the wealth of UK-Japan food-related business and media partnerships that have already been secured, as well as to encourage more partners to join the campaign. Highlights include British recipes featured on Japan’s leading recipe website Cookpad and popular food blogger Yukari Elliott, TV shows from famous British chefs to be broadcast in Japan and 15 upcoming food festivals, exhibitions, retail fairs and tasting events taking place in Japan over the next 6 months alone.
Ambassador Tim Hitchens officially appointed British-Japanese Celebrity Harry Sugiyama as Goodwill Ambassador for the Food is GREAT campaign in Japan, before being joined by Embassy Chef Tatsuki Yoshida for a English Summer Pudding cooking demonstration and a celebratory toast from renowned food expert Dr. Yukio Hattori of Iron Chef fame.
With the Embassy Residence transformed into a food-tasting reception, guests were invited to explore five different areas highlighting the unique strengths of British food and drink: Green, Regional, Eating out in the great outdoors, Amazing British Chefs and Teatime & Treats – together spelling the word GREAT.
Speaking at the launch event, Ambassador Tim Hitchens said,
This campaign is about addressing a perception gap in Japan. It’s about encouraging food enthusiasts in the press and online to try our recommended British recipes. It’s about forging the business links that will make more British food and drink products available on the shelves and tables of Japanese supermarkets and restaurants. And it’s about getting more Japanese to travel to the different regions of the UK to enjoy the real British food experience for themselves. We look forward to all the events that this campaign will bring over the next year and I hope that today’s launch will be start of many great new partnerships, inspired by a taste of Britain.
More photos from the Food is GREAT: A Taste of Britain launch event can be found on the Embassy’s Flickr and readers are encouraged to visit the campaign’s Facebook page for access to the latest news, recipes and contests. Information on upcoming events and British food and drink products available in Japan is also available at our A Taste of Britain website.
Campaign’s Facebook page
A Taste of Britain website
British Embassy’s Kitchen @ Cookpad