On July 7 and 8, the first Rainbow (GMO) Papaya sales promotion targeting general consumers was held at the SPA Hawaiians Resort in Japan.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: JA2520
Post: Tokyo ATO
GMO Papaya Reaches Out To Japanese Consumers
CSSF Activity Report
Market Development Reports
Steve Shnitzler, Director, ATO Japan
Masayuki (Alex) Otsuka, Marketing Specialist, ATO Tokyo
On July 7 and 8, the first Rainbow (GMO) Papaya sales promotion targeting general consumers was
held at the SPA Hawaiians Resort in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture (about 135 miles north of Tokyo).
Over 2,000 SPA guests viewed papaya promotion, and over 600 people sampled the fruit. This was
the second Rainbow papaya sales in Japan since COSTCO Japan sold the papayas to their warehouse
members in December last year. Deep rooted concerns on GMO food have still been running
rampant in the market, but mainly from the large importers. However, all prepared Rainbow papayas
were sold out during the promotion, much better sales results than expected.
The ATO and the Hawaiian Papaya Industries Association (HPIA) sponsored a Rainbow (GMO) Papaya
sales promotion targeting general consumers at the SPA Hawaiians Resort in Iwaki, Fukushima
Prefecture on the weekend of July 7 and 8, 2012. This is the second Rainbow papaya sales promotion
in Japan since COSTCO Japan promoted Rainbow to their warehouse members in December 2011.
Consumers are still unfamiliar with GMO foods and much misinformation is present in the market, ATO
Japan and HPIA, along with the Japanese importer, believe that people will come to accept the product
as they learn more about it.
ATO Japan managed the promotion in collaboration with Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA),
Hawaiian papaya supplier, Japanese importer and the end user, Japan’s biggest Hawaiian theme spa
resort SPA Hawaiians. The buyers at SPA Hawaiians, who were first skeptical about GMO papaya sales,
asked their sales staff to let their customers, especially families with small children, know they that are
tasting a GMO product that has been approved the Japanese government.
During the sales promotion for two days, ATO Specialist Masayuki Otsuka noticed that there were a
few mothers, out of around 600 SPA guests, who kept their children from tasting GMO papaya.
However, almost all of the families and guests really enjoyed the tasting, and many bought Rainbow
papaya as gifts for friends and relatives.
The buyers of the SPA were surprised by the sales results and appreciated seeing the delight of guests
who sampled GMO papaya. All Rainbow papayas were sold out during the promotion, much better
results than the sellers expected.
After this Rainbow Papaya sale promotion, HPIA was also satisfied with results of the event and
offered a package of Papaya Day promotion to the SPA Hawaiian which will be held on August 8, 2012.
ATO helped introduce the Papaya Day idea on behalf of HPIA and will provide official support. August
8 is known as papaya day as the Japanese phrase sounds like papaya.
A promotion table and sales staff in the center of Families enjoying tasting Rainbow Papaya
the biggest gift shop of SPA Hawaiians samples
Sales staff give consumers information on Rainbow Rainbow papayas were sold out quickly.
papaya, using ATO published pamphlets
Spa Resort Hawaiians –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spa_Resort_Hawaiians - is a huge Hawaiian themed, indoor, amusement
park located in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture. The place was made famous in a Japanese movie called
Hula Girls. This Wikipedia entry tells the whole story if you don’t know it already:
The resort was shutdown since March 11, 2011, due to an April 2011 aftershock that caused
considerable damage. Several parts of the park sank and created over 1.6 meters gaps from the
original level. The giant swimming pool fell 1 meter and developed cracks.
During the shutdown, the team of SPA Resort Hula Girls reformed and began a road-show throughout
Japan. The performances became a symbol of Iwaki city recovery from the earthquake.
They re-opened the facility in February, 2012. Before the earthquake, ATO had established good
relationships with SPA because its pro-American concepts. Prior to the grand opening, ATO offered
help for their re-opening as a part of the Tomodachi (Friendship) initiative that U.S. Ambassador John
Roos created to help Japan recover.