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2008 Seafood Import Stats Indicate 4% Decline to 2,760,000 Tons

January 30, 2009

According to the Japan Fish Traders Association, the amount of imported seafood declined 4.3 percent to 2,767,284 tons, in comparison with a year earlier, failing to exceed 3 million tons as following the previous year.

The average unit price was \565 per kg, a similar result to the previous year. The total value of imports shrank 4.4 percent to \1.5636 trillion, hitting the all time low since 1990.

Noticeable Declines in Pollack Surimi, Eel, and Yellowfin

The seafood import amounts have been dwindling year after year, since reaching the peak number of 3,820,000 tons in 2001 and 2002. The import amounts stayed around more than three million tons after 1993; however, the year of 2007 witnessed the lower amount of 2,890,000 tons. As for the total import value, 1997 hit the peak amount of \1.9453 trillion; subsequently, the value tended to move downward to 1.7 and then to 1.6 trillion.

In 2008, there were noticeable decreases in the import amounts of yellowfin (16.8 percent); pollack surimi (25.6 percent); squid (12.1 percent); live eel (25.4 percent) and prepared eel products (BBQ eel/52.5 percent). The main import commodity of frozen shrimp (shrimp and prawn) slumped 5 percent to 197,000 tons, shy of 200,000 tons, compared with a prior year.

In contrast, the following increases were recorded: mackerel, 52.4 percent; bonito, 7 percent; flounder and flatfish, 19 percent; and herring, 26.9 percent.

In terms of individual fish prices, pollack surimi, with significantly diminished supply, marked a 70 percent price hike. Fish meat price shot up by 50 percent; cod roe and bluefin displayed a 20 percent rise. Contrarily, salmon and trout, fishmeal, and squid experienced a 10 to 20 percent decline.

The original article was polished on January 30, 2009 was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Hohsui Revises Individual Earnings Forecast Downward

January 30, 2009

Hohsui revised its earnings forecast for the fiscal term ending March 2009 on January 29.

As an individual entity, the company lowered originally estimated sales proceeds of \19 billion to \16 billion; operating profit of \270 million to \150 million; ordinary proceeds of \300 million to \200 million; and net earnings of this business term was downgraded from \260 million to \150 million. The company says, "The revisions were made due to a harsher financial downturn than expected."

As a consolidated entity, subsidiaries' favorable business performances require no revisions. "Integrating seafood distribution functionality within the group enables us to organically collaborate with one another," says the company.

The consolidated earnings estimates are as follows: sales amount of \38 billion; operating profit of \370 million; ordinary earnings of \400 million; and net proceeds of \300 million. Net earnings per share is \3.58.

The original article was polished on January 30, 2009 was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Maruha-Nichiro Releases New Spring Products

January 30, 2009

Michiro Sakai, President of Maruha-Nichiro Foods, announced new spring product lines at the Maruha-Nichiro HD headquarters in Tokyo on January 28.

The new product lines consist of 15 canned and retort products for commercial use, 18 products from the fish ham/sausage, dessert in cup, and chilled category, 13 commercial frozen foods, and 31 professional grade frozen foods, in total of 77 products. The sales target is \10.7 billion. In addition, renewal products were also introduced.

Themes of development of the new products were 'Health" and "New Containers and Packaging Materials." On top of a variety of products of DHA, calcium, balanced diet, special nursing diet, a series of canned products named "New Pac-can" and "Magic Cut Sausage," which has a pending application for food for specified health use, represent the company's consideration for safety and user-friendliness. The main new products are as follows:

Maruha brand: "Mainichi Nizakana Sanma Shogani (Ginger Flavored Cooked Saury for Everyday)" (can), "Magic Cut Fish Sausage" (fish ham/sausage), and "Calcium Sodachi: Chikuwa (Chikuwa1 fortified with calcium)" (kneaded fish; an application for food for specified health use pending).

Maruha-Nichiro brand: "Goohan-flavored Chukadon2" (retort) and "Jelly de Zero (strawberry and blueberry flavors)" (dessert in cup)

Akebono brand: for commercial use, "Sanshoku Yasai no Roll Katsu (Rolled Katsu3 with vegetables of three colors)," "Yokosuka Kaigun Katsu Curry (The Yokosuka Navy's Katsu Curry)," and "Sanma no Goma Fry (Fried Saury with sesame seeds)." For professional use, "Toridashi Shio Soba (Chicken/Salt flavored Chow Mein)," "Ebi Tappuri Katsu (Shrimp Katsu)," and "Cha Arai Honenashi Kirimi (Boneless Fillet cleaned with tea)" (renewal).

Notes from translator:
1:Wikipedia says that Chikuwa is a Japanese tube-like food product made from ingredients like fish surimi, salt, sugar, starch, and egg white.

2:According to Wikipedia, Chukadon is a popular Japanese fast food dish. It consists of a bowl of rice with stir-fried vegetables, onions, mushrooms, and thin slices of meat on top. Literally meaning "Chinese rice bowl", it is inspired by Chinese cuisine.

3:Katsu is a shortened name for tonkatsu; according to Wikipedia, invented in the late 19th century, is a popular dish in Japan, It consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet one to two centimeters thick and sliced into bite-sized pieces, generally served with shredded cabbage.

Boneless Fish Fillet Series (cleaned with tea)
Upper left: Atka Mackerel (700g x 10)
Lower left: Hoki (700g x 10)

Upper right: Atka Mackerel (500g x 10)
Lower right: Hoki (500g x 10)

The original article was polished on January 30, 2009 was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan: New Products' Raw Material Changed to Hoki from Pollack

January 29, 2009

Nippon Suisan announced 29 new spring and 23 renewal products on January 28. In an attempt to integrate marine business with food business, the company released the following frozen products for home use made from shrimp from China and Vietnam and hoki from Latin America, making the best use of seafood accessibility by "Global Links": from "Hoshii Bundake (as much as you want)" series, "Shrimp Rich Katsu" and "Fried White Fish with Tartar Sauce." The company shifted a raw material from pollack to hoki, which has a heartier taste.

Kneaded Fish Product: Expanded "100% Hokkaido Fish" Series

In the category of kneaded fish products, "Hokkaido no Osakana 100% (100% Hokkaido Fish)," made from Hokkaido Atka mackerel and cod, expanded its series: "Marukajiri Chikuwa (One Bite Chikuwa)" and "Satsuma-age" (fried fish cake from Kagoshima Prefecture). "Umikara Salad: Hogushite Fresh Ham flavor (Salad from the Ocean: Ham-flavored Flaking Fish)" (picture) was also released. Cheese kamaboko, a mainstay of the appetizer section, welcomed a new line-up, "Spicy Cheese Kamaboko."

The category of room temperature foods added a new line-up of "Yakiton Bento (BBQ Pork Lunch Box)" from Asahikawa Train Station, Hokkaido, to "Ekiben Tour of Japan" series, which offers microwaveable famous train station boxed meals (ekiben) in Japan. Retorted bowl topping series welcomed "Octopus Bowl" from Kobe and "Kashiwa Bowl" from Miyagi Prefecture. A new series called "(Ramenyasan no Makanaimeshi (Noodle House's Employee Meal)," supervised by a famous noodle restaurant, "Santouka," released soy sauce and salt flavors, which contain ingredients for noodle broth-flavored cooked rice, such as pork shank, shinachiku (seasoned Chinese bamboo shoots), Judas' ear and coarse black pepper.

"Seasoned Mushroom" and "Sukiyaki Flavored Mushroom," which used "Snow Country Mushroom" from Niigata Prefecture, were added to a jarred product collection. Seafood flavored canned product series "Gyokai Wasozai (Marine Daily Dish)" was renewed to "Tsuke-yaki (Marinate then Broil)." In the production process, far-infrared radiation is used; materials are flavorfully broiled and the inside stays plump. Four products, BBQ saury, salted saury, BBQ sardine, and teriyaki mackerel, were renewed.

For professional quality products, retorted food "Sea Grace" (crab and scallop flavors) was recreated with increased tastes.

Figure 1: Salad from the Ocean Product

The original article was polished on January 29, 2009 was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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