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Audio: Seminars in Colombia Demonstrate Versatility, Profitability of U.S. Pork

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A weak Colombian peso and an increase in domestic pork production led to a slowdown in U.S. pork exports to Colombia in 2015 and during the first half of 2016. A rebound began to emerge late last year, with October exports climbing 68 percent in volume (5,862 metric tons) and 77 percent in value ($14.6 million). October muscle cut exports to Colombia were the largest on record at 5,428 metric tons, up 58 percent from 2015.

In an effort to continue this momentum and regain a larger share of the Colombian pork market, USMEF recently conducted seminars in Bogota and Medellin designed to highlight economically priced pork cuts that deliver value for Colombian restaurateurs and retailers. The seminars were funded by the Pork Checkoff.

Greg Hanes, USMEF assistant vice president for international marketing, explains that the goal of the seminars was to provide an overview of U.S. pork production and highlight the availability of U.S. pork products going forward. The seminars also offered ideas on how USMEF can support customers’ efforts to expand usage of U.S. pork. The bulk of U.S. pork exports to Colombia have traditionally been made up of cuts utilized by the further processing industry. But several cuts featured at the seminar – including St. Louis spare ribs, bone-in loins and bone-in hams – can be successfully merchandised in Colombian restaurants and supermarkets.

TRANSCRIPT:

Ralph Loos: The U.S. Meat Export Federation recently conducted seminars in Colombia to highlight the quality and availability of U.S. pork. Greg Hanes, assistant vice president for international marketing, has more details in this USMEF report.

Greg Hanes: We held a series of two seminars, the first one was in Bogota and the second one was in Medellin, to meet with the key importers and some of their customers – mostly restaurants, but there were also a few retailers there. The last few years have been a little more challenging in Colombia, the exchange rates and higher prices have had an impact, and now with the opportunities that are happening with the increased production in the U.S. there’s really a lot more opportunities for these buyers to utilize U.S. product and to still be very profitable. So the goal was to give them an idea of really where we are on the production basis in the U.S. now and the availability of the product that going to be going forward over the next years.

Ralph Loos: The workshops emphasized economically priced pork cuts that deliver value for Colombian restaurateurs and retailers.

Greg Hanes: We wanted to introduce some of the different cuts and show them some of the merchandising ways on how they can use these cuts. We had a chef there who was a Colombian chef and who was very knowledgeable on U.S pork, and he was able to take several cuts – including the full bone-in loin, ham, the Coulotte, and a couple others and really break them out and show some of the muscles there and demonstrate different ways on how those can be utilized, again in very profitable ways with different cuts that fit into that Colombian cooking style. We are really pushing the Coulotte and the ham, but also looking at some of the cuts that are fairly popular there like spare ribs, like St. Louis-style ribs. He demonstrated how you can take the full rib and utilize the brisket bones and also use that muscle that’s on the inside of the rib and pull it off and create different medallions or shish-kabob.

Ralph Loos: For more information on the USMEF officer team, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Ralph Loos.