Promoting consumption of pork at baseball games, launching a “pop-up” activity for young chefs looking for new ideas and co-hosting several of its popular grilling workshops, USMEF continued its work educating Mexican consumers about the taste and versatility of U.S. pork. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the National Pork Board, these events were aimed at increasing overall consumption of U.S. pork in Mexico.
For three days, USMEF set up a display tent – it included a miniature baseball diamond complete with a cardboard cut-out of a catcher – outside the stadium of the Durango Generals, a Mexican League baseball team based in Durango City, which has a population of more than 650,000.
“Our goal was to create awareness of U.S. pork among the fans, giving them information on various cuts and cooking techniques,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. “We also provided important details about where they can find U.S. pork in supermarkets and retail shops in Durango and the surrounding area.”
In a separate activity, USMEF partnered with the Mexico City hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector to carry out the first “U.S. Meat Factory” event of 2019.
The pop-up event, designed to promote U.S. pork dishes created by up-and-coming chefs in Mexico City, took place over two days at Hotel Prim and was attended by HRI professionals from across Mexico. The menu featured ramen with pork belly and Italian sausage sandwiches (Chef Miguel Hidalgo), pork belly mochi and back rib wonton (Chef David del Nuevo), pork belly brioche and loin baguettes with bacon (Chef Jose Miguel García) and cacao macaron with bacon and ice cream (Chef Joe Gelato).
Elsewhere, as part of an ongoing project, USMEF continued its partnership with Weber Grills by arranging the 2019 edition of the Weber Grill Academy tour, a series of workshops that demonstrate how various pork cuts can be grilled by consumers at home or in cafes, restaurants, food tents or trucks.
“Our goal at these grilling workshops is to prepare U.S. pork that really highlights the flavor of the meat,” said Lorenzo Elizalde, USMEF trade manager in Mexico. “Grilling continues to be very popular among Mexican consumers, so this is a great way to capture attention and let people taste U.S. pork right off the grill. The companies that participate are from the retail, trade and foodservice sectors, so it is important to educate them and let them see and taste the advantages of our products.”
Several grilling workshops have been held this summer at Weber Grill stores and at facilities operated by USMEF members. USMEF-organized activities this summer include:
- SuKarne, a major meat distributor in Puebla City and a commercial partner of USMEF, hosted a grilling workshop for 40 clients. A grilling ambassador led a demonstration on how to prepare and grill U.S. pork loin and hams.
- A separate workshop conducted with SuKarne in Mexico City was attended by 25 restaurant owners, taco shop managers and local distributors. USMEF promoted U.S. pork hams and the participants prepared pork bruschetta, ham steaks and skewers made with cubes of ham combined with pineapple.
- Super Aki, a key importer of U.S. pork in southern Mexico, promoted U.S. pork chops and loin to the 70 attendees who attended a grilling workshop.
- With additional funding from the United Soybean Board (USB), USMEF teamed with the S-Mart retail chain for a grilling workshop in Ciudad Juarez. The two-day event attracted 50 S-Mart clients who were taught how to prepare the grill and grill U.S. pork loin, chops bacon and breaded pork steaks.
- Interial Proveedora de Carnes, a USMEF commercial partner in Saltillo, hosted a grilling workshop for 40 customers. A Weber Grill ambassador prepared U.S. pork Boston butt marinated with honey and whiskey blended with aromatic herbs and U.S. bacon. For dessert, participants were taught how to prepare skewers made with cubed ham, fruits and caramel sauce.
- In the north region of Mexico, USMEF conducted a grilling workshop in Nuevo León for 36 customers of Proboca, a meat distributor in Apodaca. The objective was to promote U.S. pork ribeye and pork cowboy.
- The Weber Grill Academy tour’s stop in Guadalajara hosted customers of Servicarnes – restaurant operators, distributors and butchers. The promoted cuts were U.S. pork loin and brisket bones.
- A separate workshop in Guadalajara was held with SuKarne. The activity attracted 50 participants, most of them operators of taco shops, carnitas businesses and restaurants. The U.S. pork dishes prepared were breaded steak, bacon skewers and loin.
- With additional funding from USB, a grilling workshop in Boca de Rio, Veracruz was conducted for customers of Carnexpress. It was a new region for the grilling workshop and USMEF promoted U.S. pork loin and pork cowboy.
- La Canasta, a distributor in Tijuana, hosted a workshop at the stadium of the Xolos, a local soccer team. More than 65 chefs and buyers from top restaurants and hotels in the region participated. U.S. pork loin and back ribs were promoted.
- USMEF partner Calimax held a grilling workshop for 20 of its customers in Tijuana to promote U.S. pork chops and bacon.