Working with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) offices in Eastern Europe, USMEF highlighted the quality and availability of U.S. beef for the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sectors in Bulgaria and Poland. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program, the strategy included partnering with other USDA cooperators for cost-effective promotions during food trade shows.
The events promoting U.S. beef included the Chef’s Congress (Warsaw, Poland), GastroFood (Krakow, Poland) and Gastronomix (Sofia, Bulgaria). FAS staff in Poland organized an “Ameryka od Kuchni” umbrella event at the trade shows in Warsaw and Krakow, while the FAS office in Sofia provided valuable assistance for a U.S. beef master class held at the Gastronomix show. Each activity also involved working with local distributors of U.S. beef to help them boost sales in their respective markets.
“These events provided excellent opportunities to point out the presence of U.S. beef in the markets, familiarize our target audiences with U.S. beef cuts, connect distributors with customers and address questions from consumers,” explained Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the region. “New markets in Europe are still behind some other international markets in serving and consuming U.S. beef. It is important that we continue to share information about products and their competitive attributes. Developing and building these new markets across the EU can help with future growth, especially if we emphasize the value of alternative cuts.”
Among the activities USMEF conducted at the food shows were cutting demonstrations, cooking and tasting events and panel discussions for industry professionals.
“Under this arrangement by the FAS offices, we were able to attract large numbers of food industry professionals who are interested in offering U.S. beef,” said Barutkin. “Our recent activities in Poland and Bulgaria allowed USMEF to spread the word about U.S. beef and help us build momentum heading into 2019.”