Japanese meat firm Itoham Foods and processed food and seasonings giant Ajinomoto have agreed to work together to cut costs in a challenging trading environment.

The move comes in response to Japan's ageing population and increasing concern about food safety, as well as rising commodity and energy costs.

"The supply and demand structure for natural resources, energy and food raw materials is changing significantly on a global scale," the companies said.

Itoham and Ajinomoto will look to take advantage of their mutual businesses to produce synergies.

"Each company can allocate functions and co-operate to ensure the safety and traceable reliability of raw materials, and to promote the sharing of that information with customers," the companies said in a joint statement.

The companies will cooperate in product development, joint sales promotions, new dietary lifestyle proposals related to customer health and dietary education, and overseas business development.