“Love-to-Eat” Sausages for the Community
Michal Taberski, a Polish man residing in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture, contributes to the community by manufacturing high-quality sausages and other meat products using locally raised pork.
Red-packaged Polmeat products line the ham and sausage sections of Akita supermarkets. They are from IMI Corporation, headquartered in Daisen City, located in the southeastern part of Akita Prefecture. The red package is inspired by the flag of Poland, the home country of Michal Taberski, CEO of IMI Corporation. Alongside Taberski’s name and photo on the package is the company’s slogan, “Taberuno daisuki.” Taberu means to eat and daisuki means to love.
Taberski is well-known in Daisen. When he walks along the street, people do not hesitate to talk to him because they know how friendly he is. He responds in fluent Akita dialect. “I would never consider myself a foreigner here,” Taberski says with a laugh.
In 2001, after graduating from university, Taberski married a Japanese woman who worked in Poland. Subsequently, he moved to Akita Prefecture, where his wife’s parents live. He held several jobs and learned Japanese and Japanese business culture before deciding to start a meat processing business. “In Poland, I ate tasty ham and sausages every day. Some small and mid-sized companies in Japan make very tasty food. However, products from these companies are expensive and most customers cannot afford to eat them every day. I thought about delivering good food to Japanese customers at reasonable prices,” he says.
Taberski loves cooking and even makes his own cheese and pickled herring in oil so his family can enjoy the flavors of Poland. In 2013, he began to remodel the garage of his home and manufacture ham and sausages. Since his factory was established in 2014, sales of his company have doubled every year.
Polmeat’s product line-up consists of nearly fifty different items. “We implement improvements again and again to proudly present our products everywhere,” says Taberski confidently. Most of the items follow the traditional manufacturing processes of Poland. Some use Akita’s traditional soy sauce for seasoning, while others contain sliced and mixed iburigakko, local Akita cuisine prepared by smoking pickled radish. Polmeat products are made from tochuton pigs raised in Daisen in pursuit of tasty meat. Product development is driven by staff members’ suggestions for making products unique to the prefecture and in collaboration with local food producers. “Akita Prefecture has heavy snowfall and is blessed with abundant meltwater, which is why we have tasty rice, Japanese sake and many wonderful ingredients,” says Taberski.
Currently, Taberski is partnered with Omagari Agricultural High School. By inviting and accepting students for practical training, the project for developing human resources will affect the future of Akita Prefecture. “When starting my business, I received grant money from the government and support from many people. I would like to repay society twofold,” says Taberski. “As a business manager, I take responsibility for company growth to make the people of Akita Prefecture proud and to provide employees with a happy workplace. It would be great if local people were thankful for having our business in their community as they look back. I hope to make this happen by working hard.”
(This is a revised version of the article that appeared in the January 2020 issue of Highlighting Japan.)