Since the first shipment of U.S. pork arrived in September 2015, USMEF has worked with a major supermarket in Punta Arenas, Chile, to introduce more residents and tourists at the “bottom of the world” to the quality and versatility of the product. Funding support for recent in-store promotions and tasting events at Abu-Gosch Supermarket was provided by the Pork Checkoff.
Three U.S. pork cuts – spareribs, tenderloin and boneless loin – were promoted at Abu-Gosch, which began importing and selling food in Punta Arenas three decades ago.
According to Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America, Abu-Gosch’s decision to sell U.S. pork was so well-received that the retailer has since purchased a second shipment of U.S. pork and hopes to introduce U.S. beef and other value-added U.S. products in the near future.
“Since the beginning, this supermarket was very open to differentiating the origin of the product, making sure customers were aware that it was U.S. pork,” said Julca. “That’s an important distinction to make because that area of Chile is steadily growing and regularly hosts visitors from around the world. Our goal in getting U.S. pork in the store was to give people the opportunity to try it and become regular customers.”
Abu-Gosch imports its entire stock of food items – vegetables and fruits from Europe, fish and seafood from Asia and chocolates from Switzerland, along with ice cream, salad dressings – and now pork – from the United States. Although the store is owned by Chile’s SMU Group, operator of the Supermercados Unimarc chain, it independently manages its own products and makes its own stocking decisions.
During the U.S. pork promotion, USMEF representatives and Abu-Gosch staff teamed up to provide tasting samples. They also distributed educational materials to consumers to help them make shopping and menu decisions. The in-store events were supported by U.S. pork advertisements placed in local newspapers.
USMEF’s efforts in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile and one of the largest in the Patagonian region, are focused on increasing demand for U.S. pork in a part of the world that has had little exposure to the product and has great potential for consumer growth. Although Punta Arenas has a population of 165,000, its position as a major tourism location and proximity to Argentina make it a retail hub for a wide range of consumers.
“I see a lot of merchandising opportunities for U.S. red meat at Abu-Gosch because the location is close to important tourist destinations and there are many high-end hotels in the area,” said Julca.
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