Iowa Beef Industry Council Continues Promotion Efforts with U.S. Meat Export Federation in Over 120 Countries
IBIC Continues Promotion Efforts with U.S. Meat Export Federation in Over 120 Countries
June 18, 2018
Chris Freland, Executive Director, Iowa Beef Industry Council, 515-296-2305; OR
Joe Schuele, U.S. Meat Export Federation 303-226-7309 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AMES, IA - The food trends and promotional efforts in major U.S. beef export markets remain vital to Iowa producers business and profitability. From meat-centric festivals, restaurant promotions, food demonstrations, to offering alternative cooking and cutting methods one thing remains consistent U.S. beef is highly sought after.
"IBIC is proud to continue it's partnership with USMEF to promote beef in over 120 countries," states Chris Freland, Executive Director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) and the National Beef Checkoff Program have remained committed to increasing the demand for beef products in other countries. Investment through the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) allows the group working to conduct the promotions necessary to demonstrate the value of U.S. beef worldwide.
Efforts to Grow U.S. Beef Exports in 2018
Meat-centric festivals, unique concept restaurants, and the trend of “instagenic” red meat menus where diners can post their meals to social media platforms like Instagram are fueling the Japanese consumer’s appetite for beef – and creating opportunity for cattle producers in Iowa.
Western-style cooking methods and culinary techniques ideal for U.S. beef – such as grilling – are becoming increasingly popular in Japan, where consumers have traditionally embraced thinly-sliced beef. But now USMEF is focusing on moving larger volumes of U.S. beef in Japan by demonstrating the superior eating quality and proper cooking techniques for thick-cut U.S. product at the retail level. Supermarket customers are being encouraged to purchase more thick-cut U.S. beef items, and the response has been very positive.
To increase U.S. beef retail sales in Japan, USMEF introduced a new merchandising idea at a seminar for foodservice buyers and restaurant owners. The “pound steak” campaign was followed by a “My Pound Steak” Instagram event for consumers.
“The catchphrase ‘pound steak’ is all about U.S. beef thick-cut steak, which is something we are really trying to establish as a consumer food trend in Japan,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF-Japan director. “Typically, steaks in Japan are 6 to 8 ounces. Our idea is to convince foodservice operators and restaurants to serve steaks that are 15 to 16 ounces, which is equal to one pound – thus the ‘pound steak’ campaign, a way to enjoy the taste and quality of U.S. beef as thick-cut steak.”
In South Korea, USMEF is taking aim at the country’s increased interest in convenient, affordable high-quality dining options.
Capitalizing on USMEF training and its relationships with food truck operators in Korea, a new dining concept that is really taking off among young Koreans, leading convenience store chains CU, GS25, and 7-Eleven teamed up with Chef Lee Food Truck to launch a U.S. beef steak lunch box. Pairing U.S. cube steak with a unique steak sauce recipe, fried rice, mashed potatoes and precooked broccoli, nearly 7,000 U.S. beef lunch boxes are sold per day, accounting for 12 metric tons of U.S. beef every month.
Promoting thick-cut and dry-aged steaks while offering new ideas for preparing U.S. beef, USMEF partnered with E-mart, the largest grocery chain in South Korea, to conduct a series of educational sessions for retail meat department managers. E-mart plans to further expand steak offerings in 2018, and turned to USMEF for help educating its staff.
Since the market reopened in mid-2017, exports of U.S. beef to China have grown steadily. Through March of this year, exports to China had reached 1,616 mt, more than half the volume exported in 2017.
USMEF continues to re-introduce U.S. beef to the market with seminars, cutting demonstrations, and roadshows bringing buyers and suppliers together. Highlighting the difference in quality and consistency between U.S. beef and its competitors, USMEF seminars showcase U.S. products and demonstrate applicable uses for a variety of U.S. beef cuts. While development of this market will require a heavy time investment, USMEF is committed to building a strong presence for U.S. beef in China.
USMEF recently conducted training sessions in Guangzhou, the largest city in southern China, to help educate importers and hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) clients about the quality and availability of U.S. beef
Over the course of several years, USMEF has focused on teaching consumers in Mexico how to cook high-quality U.S. beef. Traditional Mexican cuisine calls for stewing, a result of the availability of lower-quality beef in the market.
Partnering with Weber, USMEF brought the grill experience the major metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. Hands-on workshops led by Weber grill masters taught U.S. beef buyers and end users the proper techniques for grilling a variety of U.S. beef cuts, including filet mignon, rib steak and New York strips.
For the first time ever, USMEF also organized a U.S. beef cutting and cooking seminar in Puebla, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and one that is well-known for its culinary traditions. The seminar focused on product education, and was attended by distributors and staff from foodservice companies and processing facilities.
More information about checkoff-funded export programs and activities conducted through the U.S. Meat Export Federation can be found at www.usmef.org.
About the Iowa Beef Industry Council: The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head National Beef Checkoff Program and $0.50 per head Iowa State Beef Checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.