Japanese Visitors Tour the Wiregrass

By: Scottie Hunter Email
By: Scottie Hunter Email

The peanut capital of the world is what the Wiregrass is known as and a small group of Japanese tourists decided to come see it for themselves.

"It's been good..It's my first time to come to Alabama to see the factory."
But for Ichiro Koyama it won't be the last.
"We import a lot of peanuts from the United States so every year I want to come back."

And that is just the kind of relationship the American Peanut Council wants between the United States and Japan.

"They're all buyers of the peanut industry so they're coming here to look for peanuts to buy in the coming season."
So Grunenfelder and her team are laying out the red carpet to really make this experience a lasting one.

Most of the visitors are from Tokyo, Japan and the whole mission behind the trip is to show them how we get peanuts from this raw phase to the plate.

"We've toured shelling plants, farms, buying points...anything that has to do with the peanut industry."
With any product, safety is key...so that's why everything is being done to ensure the Japanese companies that every time they crack open an American peanut, they're cracking open perfection.

"We went to see a lab where we learned about apotoxin testing and food safety measures that we use here in the United States so we're trying to give them an overview of the quality of the products that we sell."
An overview that seems to be working.
"It's very interesting to see that."
And paying off in a big way.

"We now have about 30-percent market share in Japan and we hope to grow that in the coming years."
One imported peanut at a time.

Grunenfelder says today's stop was perfect because the more hands-on the activities are in the tour, the more likely those trading numbers are going to continue to increase.

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