To promote U.S. pork and beef to the foodservice and retail industries of Vietnam, USMEF recently participated in U.S. Food Showcase events held in Hanoi and Da Nang. USMEF conducted U.S. meat training and product demonstrations to chefs and foodservice managers, while also educating food industry representatives on the positive attributes of U.S. red meat. Funding support was provided by the Pork Checkoff, the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
In Vietnam, a fast-growing country of 90 million people, people continue to experience a rise in personal incomes, which is expected to boost consumer spending and meat consumption in coming years. As a result of increased tourism, Vietnam’s hotel and restaurant sectors have seen tremendous growth – mostly in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but also in other urban areas such as Da Nang and Haiphong.
To expand awareness of U.S. products in this promising market, the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council organized the U.S. Food Showcase events. Funded by the USDA’s Global Based Initiative (GBI) programs, the events featured a number of U.S. agriculture cooperators, as well as local importers of various U.S. products. Seminars were held alongside exhibitions in order to provide information and ideas on the latest foodservice trends.
At the Hanoi meat training, USMEF invited Nguyen Quoc Dat, a past culinary training program graduate chef, to present three U.S. meat dishes. The U.S. red meat cuts featured in Hanoi were chuck roll, chuck tender and pork loin rack. In Da Nang, Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director, led both the discussion and demonstration sessions. Cuts utilized in Da Nang were chuck roll, top blade muscle and pork spare ribs.
USMEF also included a presentation on the U.S. beef grading system and the U.S. pork production system during the Food Showcase.
“As this is the first time for most of the participants to attend such an educational training session, they were very grateful and amazed to have the opportunity to learn about U.S. beef and pork,” said Yin. “It was good to connect the sessions to the showcase, because it brought together the foodservice and retail industries we are trying to reach. This is a situation where education can go a long way in promoting U.S. red meat, and we sensed that there is a lot of interest.”
Indeed, the U.S. Food Showcase attracted restaurant owners, operations managers, chefs, culinary school students and instructors to explore U.S. food products such as meat, dairy and fruit.
USMEF provided attendees with U.S. beef and pork meat charts, educational brochures and informational materials throughout the show. U.S. products featured by the various chefs during main cooking demonstrations included beef, pork, dehydrated potatoes, dried fruits, nuts and pulses.
The opportunity to reach potential customers in such a setting was valuable and efficient, said Yin.
“We gave an overview of the U.S. meat industry and the role of USMEF, as well as a presentation on U.S. meat production systems, USDA grading and inspection and foodservice buying specifications,” she added. “Overall, this is a good collaboration between the various U.S. agriculture products co-operators to promote U.S. food as a whole identity.”
According to Yin, U.S. meat importers in Vietnam rely on such events to explore market opportunities with much less effort, time and money invested than when they do it individually.
“Along with the modern trade retail sector, Vietnam continues to grow through events like these food showcases, and there are many opportunities expected to come,” said Yin.
A third segment of USMEF’s involvement in the U.S. Food Showcase was its part in the Saigon Professional Chef Guild’s Annual General Meeting. USMEF, the U.S. Potato Board, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the Raisin Administrative Committee and the Washington Apple Commission partnered to produce a dinner for 270 member chefs and VIP guests from the trade and the association.
This is the ninth time USMEF accepted the invitation to support the Saigon Professional Chef’s Guild “because it is yet another great opportunity to reach out to their vast network of member chefs from all over Vietnam,” said Yin.
U.S. beef and pork dishes featured at the dinner were U.S. beef salad “Vietnamese style,” barbecued U.S. pork spareribs, spicy U.S. beef stew and U.S. roast beef.
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