Encouraging restaurants and retailers in Taiwan to use alternative cuts of U.S. beef, USMEF collaborated with Taiwan Fresh Supermarket (TFS) and the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain in a series of promotional activities and product tastings. The efforts, funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, were designed to maintain the competitiveness of U.S. beef in the Taiwanese market by providing consumers, foodservice operators and importers with information on available products.
“Taiwanese consumers have adopted more beef in their diets over the past couple of decades, but their knowledge of beef remains relatively limited,” explained Davis Wu, USMEF director in Taiwan. “People are used to purchasing meat with a tender texture and rich marbling, such as ribeye, sirloin, short rib and tenderloin. Those cuts are commonly available in the supermarkets and on restaurant menus. Our goal with this promotion was to share information about alternative U.S. beef cuts that can provide the same quality but at a lower cost.”
TFS, a supermarket chain with 48 outlets in Taiwan, introduced U.S. beef chuck ribeye during the promotion.
“TFS aims to attract both higher-end and cost-conscious shoppers and is constantly working to reposition itself to get an edge on the competition by offering customers new products, so USMEF believed the company was an ideal partner to introduce new beef cuts,” said Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan.
A campaign utilizing the slogan “The Debut of the Chuck Ribeye in Taiwan” emphasized that the texture and flavor of U.S. beef chuck ribeye is like that of ribeye steak. TFS also gave discounts for all chilled U.S. beef items. In addition to the chuck ribeye, this included top blade, chuck flap, boneless short ribs, bone-in short ribs, strip loin, rib fingers, hind shank and short plate.
In-store tasting events featuring pan-fried U.S. beef chuck ribeye were conducted in all 48 TFS stores for four consecutive weekends.
USMEF and TFS also organized two live-streamed shows on the TFS Facebook fan page to share event information with each livestream show lasting one hour. The onsite livestreaming was arranged as a beef-tasting workshop in which Sun presented a cooking demonstration and explained the characteristics of U.S. beef and the chuck ribeye.
“Supermarket shoppers expressed an overwhelming appreciation for the featured cuts and made it clear that they are willing to make purchases,” said Wu. “Also, due to the outstanding sales during the promotional period, TFS decided to add the chuck ribeye to its offerings.”
In a separate promotion, USMEF teamed with Texas Roadhouse to highlight U.S. beef brisket. Texas Roadhouse currently has three locations in Taiwan that feature chilled USDA Choice grade beef, with customers choosing their own steaks from the restaurant’s “fresh cut counter.”
“Because brisket is an essential element in Texas barbeque, USMEF believed Texas Roadhouse would be the best representative to demonstrate brisket in an authentic, yet creative, way,” said Sun.
Texas Roadhouse launched a special menu featuring a USDA beef brisket platter that included a unique homemade mango barbecue sauce and a combination of popular side dishes.
Two media lunches were held prior to the promotional event, resulting in extensive newspaper and online media coverage.
Taiwan’s demand for U.S. beef continues to gain momentum. In 2018, beef exports to Taiwan shattered previous records, reaching 59,694 metric tons (up 33 percent year-over-year) valued at $550 million (up 34 percent). This was the sixth consecutive record for export value to Taiwan, which has doubled in the past five years. The United States holds more than 75 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest share of any Asian destination.