Story: A gourmet’s delight

19 May 2021
ITC News

Chilli, mushrooms and honey from Bhutan make their mark in Japan.

Sei Takayama, a Japanese buyer of honey from Bhutan is happy with his purchase.

“I bought Bhutanese honey because it is produced in the perfect natural environment for honey production. The taste is rich and its price and quality competes with honey from any other part of the world,” he said.

And although the Mastutake variety of mushrooms is a delicacy in Bhutan, it could benefit from visibility in relatively unexplored markets.

When the International Trade Centre (ITC) carried out market research recently, one of the markets in mind was Japan.

Using the findings of the research, chilli, mushrooms, herbal teas and honey from four Bhutanese producers were introduced to the Japanese market earlier this year at the hybrid FOODEX Japan 2021 international food and beverage fair.

Exhibiting for the first time in Japan, while braving operational and logistic challenges during COVID-19, these Bhutanese companies successfully attracted significant attention from Japanese and international buyers.

The first few samples of Bhutanese products have already been shipped to interested buyers and the first contracts for Matsutake mushrooms and honey signed.

Participation in Foodex Japan is part of a series of capacity building and market linkages activities aimed at improving the trade competitiveness of Bhutanese horticulture and food products in international markets as part of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by ITC in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan.