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Audio: Mexico’s Convenience Store Sector a Rapidly Growing Venue for U.S. Red Meat

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Convenience stores account for a rapidly increasing share of food sales across the world, including in Mexico. Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF regional marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, discusses USMEF’s efforts to expand demand for U.S. pork and beef products by working with suppliers of Mexico’s largest convenience store chain, Oxxo.

Rodriguez notes that the quality and consistency of U.S. products such as ham and sausage used for breakfast sandwiches are major selling points for Oxxo’s suppliers. He adds that with a growing number of consumers turning to convenience stores for lunch and dinner, USMEF is working to develop a wider range of convenience items that feature U.S. red meat, including salads with pre-cooked pork and beef.

Despite facing a 20 percent retaliatory duty on most pork entering Mexico, it is still by far the largest the largest volume market for U.S. pork. In 2018, pork exports to Mexico totaled 777,143 metric tons valued at $1.31 billion. Mexico is the third-largest destination for U.S. beef exports, behind Japan and South Korea. Beef exports to Mexico totaled 239,110 metric tons last year, valued at just over $1 billion.

Transcript

Joe Schuele: In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, we speak with regional marketing director, Gerardo Rodriguez, about efforts to place more U.S. pork and beef products in Mexico’s largest convenience store chain, Oxxo:

Gerardo Rodriguez: The convenience store industry in Mexico has been growing tremendously. The leaders are two companies, 7-11 and Oxxo, which is a Mexican convenience chain. Oxxo started in the early seventies, but in the last decade they have a very aggressive expansion plan. They closed 2018 with over 17,000 stores. What we have been doing is working behind the scenes with their suppliers — suppliers of products such as ham and sausage for sandwiches and croissants, which, let me tell you, a couple of years ago there were none or maybe the product was kind of a homemade type of sandwich and it was using domestic products. Nowadays the companies are getting into more strict requirements, let’s say, and one of the requirements is wholesomeness of the product. For them consistency is the key. It doesn’t matter when you buy the product it has to be exactly the same. It has to have the same color, it has to be the same size, it has to have everything the same. So consistency is something that is very important for this chain.

Joe Schuele: In addition to sandwiches, USMEF is also working on convenience items for more health-conscious consumers:

Gerardo Rodriguez: These convenience stores, it is amazing the amount of people who go there and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. So we want to offer something healthy, something convenient, something easy to eat. What if we just do the tray with lettuce and we can add tomatoes and some other vegetables as well and on the side we can include precooked U.S. beef or U.S. pork items that once you mix them together you have a very nice healthy salad that can be used for your lunch.

Joe Schuele: For more information, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation (www.USMEF.org) is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.