April 19, 2019
Content contributed by Nathan Sano

Japanese Bean Paste Preparations

The US Dry Bean Council sponsored a large delegation of five industry participants to visit Japan and meet with importers and end users in March. Japan is an important buyer of baby lima beans, buying up to 70% of production. While great northern beans may not rely as heavily on the Japanese market, there continues to be a demand by end users. Over the last several years we have seen an increase in other beans such as garbanzo and dark red kidney beans. While traditionally the baby lima and great northern beans are used in a sweet bean paste for Japanese confectionary, the garbanzo and dark red kidney bean are used in soups and salads.

The US Dry Bean team meets with Japanese Buyers


While Japan is a critical export market for the US dry bean industry, we still face several competitive challenges. Japan is a policy priority for the US as we initiate bilateral trade talks. While a US/Japan trade agreement is still a ways off in the future, it will help us to achieve preferential market access and enhance our competitiveness.
Bean paste continues to be the most common end use for US dry beans.  In order to grow our market share, it’s critical to consider new and innovative end uses. We are seeing interest in bean ingredients to boost the health and nutrition of a variety of food and drink products. Our existing strong relationship with the Japanese trade positions us to fit into new and growing consumption trends for dry beans.  The U.S. industry strategy in Japan continues to rely on the message of U.S. origin quality, consistency and food safety, these are critical to the Japanese marketplace. USDBC is gearing up for a new bean functionality seminar later this year and will incorporate this messaging into the content. The opportunity to increase bean usage in Japan is growing and this seminar along with the future trade missions will only help. The full Japan trip report will be available on the members’ only section of our webpage.

Posted in: Bean Bulletin