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U.S. Pork Cuts Showcased for Foodservice Reps in Colombia

Published: Friday, September 16th, 2016

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U.S. pork brisket, pork chops, boneless loin and bacon were among the cuts showcased by USMEF at Alimentec 2016, a biennial food show held in Bogota, Colombia. Funded by the Pork Checkoff, this promotional effort featured a unique approach to promoting U.S. pork in this region of Latin America.

Chef Cecilia Alfaro prepares U.S. pork for tasting samples at Alimentec 2016

Chef Cecilia Alfaro prepares U.S. pork for tasting samples at Alimentec 2016

“Colombia is the leading destination for U.S. pork in the Latin American region, but our market share is built mostly on cuts for the further processing industry,” said Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America. “And while U.S. pork does have an excellent reputation here as high-quality raw material for processing, the foodservice sector has not been a large importer of our product. That’s why we decided to participate in Alimentec and support two of our importers, Calypso Del Caribe and Atlantic, because foodservice is the show’s primary focus.”

USMEF’s timing was good – Alimentec partnered with Anuga to conduct the 2016 show, resulting in a nearly 10 percent higher attendance than 2014.

Visitors were given educational information about U.S. pork and USMEF promotional items

Visitors were given educational information about U.S. pork and USMEF promotional items

“The alliance between these two major food show companies set up a good scenario for generating contacts with distributors and importers, not only from Colombia but also the entire Andean Region, Central America and the Caribbean,” explained Julca. “USMEF’s main goal was to provide commercial assistance to foodservice accounts visiting the show, as well as meet with potential importers of U.S. red meat and share valuable information about our products.”

Cooking demonstrations offered several ideas for including U.S. pork on foodservice menus

Cooking demonstrations offered several ideas for including U.S. pork on foodservice menus

With help from the two established importers, USMEF distributed information about U.S. pork and menu ideas for visitors from the foodservice industry. Cecilia Alfaro, a culinary instructor at San Ignacio de Loyola gastronomy school in Peru, conducted three cooking demonstrations per day using various cuts of U.S. pork.

This was USMEF’s first appearance at the show, and Julca was pleased with the crowd it attracted.

“We were able to reach both type of audiences: those looking for a high-quality, center-of-the-plate ingredient that works in their restaurants, and those looking for a consistent, affordable protein to include in their menu plans,” she said. “That was the message that Chef Alfaro spread throughout the show, that U.S. pork is not only a high-quality alternative but also an affordable protein that you can use hundreds of ways to prepare a healthy and delicious meal.”

U.S. pork exports to Colombia increased dramatically following implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement in 2012. In 2010, exports of pork and pork variety meat to Colombia totaled just $18 million. By 2015, that number had reached $102 million.

U.S. exports to Colombia have slowed this year – through the first seven months of 2016, pork/pork variety meat exports declined 28 percent in volume (18,948 metric tons) and 36 percent in value ($42.1 million). However, the U.S. share of Colombia’s imported pork market has actually increased this year to 76 percent by volume and 81 percent by value, as shipments from Chile and Canada have declined at a more rapid pace. This trend is mainly attributable to a sharp increase in Colombia’s domestic pork production and the weakness of the Colombian peso.