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Hello, Mr. Lobel. I have enjoyed your company's fine products on a few occasions, I also have the Prime Time cookbook, and I have learned much from your appearances on various TV shows.

I notice that your website offers kurobuta, a highly prized Japanese pork with a reputation comparable to Wagyu (Kobe-style) beef. I for one, am anxious to try some, but I'm wondering how it's being received by your customers? I've heard it said that pork continues to be a popular menu item in restaurants, while having declined in people's stated favorites (or was it grocery purchases). Would you say that there was an unmet interest and demand for premium pork first, or did the supply become available first? Any indication it might grow beyond a niche and influence the pork we see in supermarkets? Any other comments about pork from your vantage point?

Thank you very much.

~Tad

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Tad,

Since its recent introduction, our customers' response to the kurobuta

pork has exceeded our initial expectations. What we're hearing from our

customers is that they are absolutely amazed that pork could be so

flavorful, tender and juicy, compared to the commonly available

commodity, or "white," pork.

I believe pork at this level of quality will mostly likely remain a

niche product, in part because of its cost. And, its cost is directly

related to how the pork is produced. Pigs for commodity pork are bred to

be lower in fat and are slaughtered at a much earlier age, compared to

the type of pork we sell, which is allowed to mature and develop the

intramuscular marbling that contributes so much to the premium pork's

tenderness and juiciness.

And as with any livestock, the longer it is on the hoof, the more costly

it is to produce, in terms of grain, etc.

It's difficult to say whether this type of pork will have an impact on

what's available in the supermarket in the future. It all depends on

what the majority of consumers demand and how pork producers respond to

it.

EL

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