NAAKPA Tokyo Mission
In November, the ILSC supported a NAAKPA delegation to visit Tokyo to meet with the Japan Superfood Association as well as functional food manufacturers, and to assist with the launch of the Kakadu Plum yoghurt at a Taste South Australia event. Daniel Motlop from Something Wild Australia and Rein Wenitong from Palngun Wurnangat Aboriginal Corporation with Paul Saeki from ISLC made up the delegation for the weeklong visit.
There was strong interest in Australian native foods from all of the food manufacturers visited ranging from supplement nutraceuticals, functional food ingredients, flavours and fragrances, and herbs and teas. All of the companies visited highlighted the importance of the story attached to the product; the Japanese market is very interested in how Aboriginal people relate to these foods, how they used the foods, and what they believed about them and the traditions associated with them. This is a marked contrast from Australian companies: who are more interested in the Corporate Social Responsibility aspect of story- showing that they are helping and supporting Aboriginal people.
The delegation also visited half a dozen chefs from luxury hotels and restaurants in Tokyo who all expressed a strong interest in sourcing Australian bushfoods, particularly from Traditional Owner enterprises.
Coming away from the mission, the delegation is much more aware of the importance of packaging story around any bushfood product, which includes issues around what information can and cannot be shared. Planning and story development need to form an integral part of any bushfood product targeted for overseas markets.
The delegation was supported by Austrade Tokyo, and is particularly grateful for the work done by the Austrade Business Development Manager, Kazuko Nishikawa in making the mission a success.