2016 Expo Report: Food & Restaurant Supplies

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The 2016 Mutual Trading Japanese Food & Restaurant Expo drew in another record-breaking number of attendees at the two trade shows: 1,795 to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Mid-Manhattan, and 2,435 to the Pasadena Convention Center. This unique forum is where growers and producers from Japan promote their products, launch new ones, and test out others directly among the users of the food trade profession in the US. Mutual Trading’s Expos have also become the place where foodservice professionals gather once a year to communicate directly with suppliers, gain new knowledge, and catch the latest trends to benefit their businesses.

This year’s event in Los Angeles was characterized by four key trends.

1) THE UNIQUE

Solving business owners’ wish to feature unique, signature flavors to differentiate from others. Suppliers featured flavor enhancers, dubbed “secret ingredients”, to aid in creation of unique flavor profiles.

2) QUALITY & CONVENIENCE

Another problem solver are the flavorings and sauces created with genuine, quality ingredients to best bring out the natural essences rather than the use of artificial flavor enhancers. What’s more, they come in easy to use forms that are quick and convenient.

3) LUXURY GRADE FROM JAPAN

What’s deemed a luxury commodity in Japan are now available at the same quality level here in the US. Mutual Trading’s original line of Ultra Low Temperature Seafood, ULTS, through its super-frozen technology, makes possible for fine quality seafood from Japan to arrive, at a “fresher than fresh”. Also, Miyazaki beef, drew high attention as chefs came to understand the value and how to best utilize the various cuts.

Luxury extended to chefs’ tools in the kitchen: High-grade Honyaki, carbon-steel Sushi knives priced at over $1,000 and genuine Binchotan charcoal drew interest and sales.

ULTS SEAFOOD
The super-frozen technology is bringing a growing number of suppliers with added product line of seafood. At the expo seminar product comparison, participants experienced the ULTS “fresher than fresh” quality that ULTS can deliver versus commercially circulated fresh or frozen seafood.

Shiro Tsubugai Hiraki Hokkaido: Expo’s most popular, deliciously meaty, rich in flavor, sweet and slightly saline with its signature crunch.

Herb Tai Fillet & Herb Saba: fed on meals including 4 types of herbs and spices (cinnamon, ginger, oregano, nutmeg) that produces a clean, non-fishy flesh that’s fresh-vivid colors.

Hyoshoku Honmaguro Ootoro: farmed in Seto Inland Sea, right where the Black Current collides. While most Honmaguro Ootoro are a combo of red meat and Toro, this is an all-Toro piece, offering an excellent yield.

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MIYAZAKI BEEF
capturing two consecutive championship wins at the Beef Olympics in Japan. James Beard Awardee, Chef Nobuo Fukuda of Teeter House demonstrated less known cuts, chuck flap and inner thigh, and ways to improve cost performance on an exquisitely premium and expensive beef.

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WA-BOCHO
Master Hirano, a regular at Mutual Trading Expo, showcase the array of his fine Tsukiji Masamoto chefs knives. Peaking the most interest were the very high-end Honyaki Yanagi carbon steel Sushi knives, priced at over $1,000 each. As chefs aim for higher techniques, their Wa Bocho quality is also rising accordingly.

KISHU BINCHOTAN
Japan’s finest charcoal. There are others of lower quality widespread in mass use in the market. Kishu Binchotan has the cleanest burn and high infra-red rays.

4) RAMEN

Ramen noodles and specialist soups ingredient suppliers continue to improve their craft.

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KUBARA HONKE
brings Kayanoya, rich and deep pork bone Tonkotsu soup, and the light Yuzu-salt soup. Scallops and bonito ingredients create a premium broth that yields a Ramen specialist grade bowl of soup. This exquisite product comes in an easy to use convenient concentrate.

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SHINMARUSHO
a line of flavored oils to transform a standard Ramen soup into unique flavors to create a signature bowl of Ramen - Roasted Niboshi, Roasted Garlic, Smoked, Onion, Shrimp, Bonito. To boot, a ready-to-use convenience.

SOMI SHOKUHIN
Ramen Soup Bases allows restaurants feature signature Ramen noodles served by the bowl onto their menus, at elevated quality at par with specialty Ramen shops.