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Nov. 17, 2016
Sumitomo Corporation
SC Foods Co., Ltd.
Iowa Premium LLC.

Beef Packer in State of Iowa: Start Full-Scale Marketing of Iowa Premium beef products in the Japanese Market

Sumitomo Corporation (head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President & CEO: Kuniharu Nakamura) and SC Foods Co., Ltd. (head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Tetsuro Tajima; hereinafter, “SCF”), began handling beef items in full-scale from Iowa Premium LLC (hereinafter “Iowa Premium”) which is a beef packer in the state of Iowa and approved by Japanese Government. Estimate of handling Iowa Premium beef in FY 2016 is approximately 1,500 metric tons. Intensifying the efforts to promote Iowa Premium beef, the goal is set high to handle 5,000 metric tons annually within a couple of years.
 
In cooperation with Sumitomo Corporation, SCF began its trial marketing from the beginning of 2016 as an exclusive agent in Tokyo and Osaka markets. United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) supported SCF/Sumitomo Corporation’s marketing efforts, and as a result, Japanese market began to value quality of Iowa Premium beef higher. Some of major Japanese supermarkets and department stores as well as restaurants and hotels now start using Iowa Premium beef.
 
Iowa Premium LLC is located in the State of Iowa which is the largest corn producing state in the United States. Iowa Premium LLC slaughters cattle from neighboring local family farms. Land in Iowa abundant with well-nourished corns is suitable for raising high quality beef, the Black Angus breed.
 
In the US, cattle are usually raised at large scale feed yard called Feedlot (more than 10,000 cattle), however, where Iowa Premium purchases cattle are from family owned smaller-scale farms with less than 1,000 cattle and these farms also manage corn fields which allows them to produce their own cattle feed. Most of the cowsheds are equipped with roof which resembles the cattle raising method in Japan. Since these are smaller-scale farms, each cattle is thoroughly raised and managed, by feeding the cattle with high quality corn in abundance. Such raising method leads to production of sweet, rich flavored and well-marbled beef.
 
At Iowa Premium, cattle slaughtered are Black Angus breed only and they purchase cattle very selectively. Although Black Angus cattle are defined to be more than 51% black hided (*1), the criteria of the cattle which Iowa Premium purchases is much stricter than the definition in the industry.  Being strictly selective about which Black Angus cattle they purchase allows exceptionally high quality meat. As a result, ratio of the highest quality grade, USDA Prime (*2), is notably 19% quality grade, in comparison with that of 5% as average in the US.
 
Iowa Premium was established in October, 2014. Iowa Premium carries the most updated and efficient equipment and they produce under supervision of thorough sanitary and quality assurance in order to deliver the highest quality beef.
 
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*1 Currently, USDA defines that Angus Beef needs to have black hair on more than 51% of the body. .
*2 Official grading by USDA. There are 3 grades of Prime/Choice/Select.
 

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Sumitomo Corporation

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