USMEF promoted U.S. beef and pork at CamFood 2015, Cambodia’s largest international food and hospitality exhibition, which this year was held in Siem Reap. Funding support was provided by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the USDA Global Based Initiative (GBI).
Held in conjunction with the Cambodia Chef Association’s International Culinary Challenge and the Cambodia Tourism Federation’s Hospitality Competitions, CamFood provides a prime opportunity for traders, importers, exporters and managers in the hospitality and foodservice industry of Cambodia and the entire ASEAN region to meet and discuss business.
According to an October 2015 USDA report, U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Cambodia have increased by nearly 350 percent over the past five years. The country has a population of 15 million and its economy has averaged 8 percent annual growth over the past decade. Half of Cambodia’s 15 million people are under the age of 25.
Key to the U.S. red meat industry is the fact that modern retail, restaurant and fast food outlets continue to open in Cambodia’s major cities.
At CamFood 2015, USMEF took advantage of simultaneous events to touch base with potential customers from around the region.
“We saw several chefs that had graduated from our training sessions in Singapore and asked them to keep in touch with us,” explained Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN director. “We let them know that if their hotel or restaurant is planning any U.S. meat promotions, USMEF will assist them.”
Yin noted that GBI programs are aimed to provide more market exposure and contacts from secondary cities for importers and agents through multi-market, cross-commodity projects.
“For example, the USMEF booth was part of a broad offering of products produced in the United States and it works well to attract potential customers,” Yin said.
The CamFood USA pavilion, organized by the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council, featured 16 U.S. organizations. USMEF hosted two major importers at its booth – LSH Cambodia and TJ Foods Co. – both of which displayed U.S. beef and pork items and provided tasting samples.
Chef Norbert Ehrbar, an executive chef and consultant based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, conducted cooking demonstrations with U.S. meat throughout the event. USMEF representatives also distributed promotional materials and brochures on U.S. beef, pork, and variety meat.
Gerald Smith, senior agricultural attaché in Cambodia, visited the USMEF booth and talked about positive development in the country and the potential for U.S. red meat.
Challenges remain in Cambodia, as the market is small compared to more developed Southeast Asian countries. And because Cambodia is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has free trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other countries, U.S. food products face price disadvantages due to high import tariffs and shipping costs.
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