To build upon relationships with Mexico City’s HRI sector, USMEF organized a seminar for chefs and operations managers that focused on the advantages and potential profitability of using U.S. beef and pork products. Funding support was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.
Increasing sales of U.S. red meat in Mexico at a time of high beef prices and volatile exchange rates requires new approaches to meeting customers’ needs, USMEF-Mexico HRI Manager Julieta Hernandez explained.
“This particular seminar was organized in a special way to reach chefs from popular and successful restaurants and hotels in Mexico’s capital city that are currently using U.S. beef and pork,” Hernandez said. “USMEF’s plan is to introduce these existing customers to new cuts and new ways to use cuts to help their businesses grow and succeed.”
The seminar was held at the Mexico City facilities of the Rational Corporation, an international company that manufactures ovens, cooking equipment and foodservice technology. Following a presentation on the versatility and quality of U.S. beef and pork products by Hernandez, USMEF Corporate Chef German Navarrete performed a cutting demonstration using U.S. beef shoulder clod, lip-on ribeye and brisket, and U.S. pork brisket and ribs. Participants were then given cuts to prepare using Rational kitchen equipment, with a tasting held at the end of the seminar.
“This seminar allowed us to provide the chefs with new and innovative approaches to preparing dishes of U.S. beef and pork,” said Navarrete. “The activity enabled them to work with the product and confirm its performance and flavor profile so they can be confident when they introduce new dishes of U.S. beef and pork on their menus.”
Building and maintaining relationships with the HRI sector in Mexico City is increasingly important for the U.S. red meat industry. Mexico City’s consumer foodservice industry continues to experience growth in full-service restaurants, and lifestyle trends are emerging among members of the city’s middle-income class who are able and willing to pay more for an enjoyable food experience. Other factors in the Mexico City HRI sector’s emergence include a growing number of foreign and domestic tourists, along with a rise in young chefs opening their own restaurants.
While poultry is Mexico’s most popular protein, beef and pork continue to fight for a share of consumers’ attention. According to the September GAIN report posted by USDA/FAS, beef consumption in Mexico continued to decline in 2015 due to high prices for domestic and imported beef which continue to constrain consumption among low and medium-income consumers. Mexico’s economic growth was also slower than expected this year, and the Mexican peso dropped to record lows, making imported meat even more expensive.
Pork consumption has benefited from more competitive prices and was expected to increase slightly in 2015 and again in 2016, reflecting larger imports and domestic production. Competition with poultry prices has led to relatively stable demand for pork, FAS reported.
The weak peso has taken a toll on U.S. beef exports to Mexico in 2015. January-August exports were down 8 percent in volume (142,536 metric tons) and 4 percent in value ($712.1 million).
U.S. pork exports to Mexico have remained strong, with January-August volume up 6 percent from last year’s record pace, to 471,481 metric tons. Value was down 19 percent to $827.9 million, reflecting lower prices for hams and other popular items.
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