USMEF invited decision-makers from the leading import companies in Mexico to participate in a hands-on training session – the Weber Grilling Experience. The activity, designed to demonstrate how various red meat cuts can be grilled at home, was funded by the Pork Checkoff.
“Home grilling has become more and more popular in Mexico, and our goal was to prepare U.S. pork and beef cuts and various side dishes that really highlight the flavor of the meat,” said Oscar Ferrara, USMEF regional director in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. “The companies that participated import almost 80 percent of the total volume of U.S. pork and beef consumed in Mexico through the retail, trade and foodservice sectors, so it is important to educate them and let them see and taste the advantages of our products.”
Participants learned new grilling techniques using U.S. cuts such as U.S. pork ribeye and bacon, along with U.S. beef filet mignon, short rib steak and New York steak. They were also given opportunities to work with the meat and given points on how to maximize flavor.
“In addition to allowing them to learn about cooking U.S. pork and beef cuts and the positive attributes of the meat, it was an excellent relationship-building event that was conducted like a fun barbecue with family and friends,” said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director in the region. “It was also an excellent opportunity for USMEF to express our gratitude to these key companies for their loyalty and support. This is especially important now, with all the discussion around NAFTA. The decision-makers from these companies were encouraged to hear that USMEF and the industry are there to support their business – no matter what happens in these negotiations.”
The Weber Grilling Experience is a continuation of the education and consumer awareness activities developed throughout 2017 aimed at increasing consumption of U.S. red meat in Mexico. Several seminars have been held at Weber stores in different locations around the country, along with mobile events at facilities operated by USMEF members. The grilling promotion, which is set to be expand in 2018 to more locations in Mexico and selected locations in Central America, included a number of related activities:
- A Grill Academy at Carnes Selectas Ali facilities in Mexico City. This event attracted 50 people representing some of Carnes Ali´s best customers. Chef Manuel Ham from Weber taught participants how to prepare and grill skewers of pork loin, as well as Johnsonville sausages and baby back ribs.
- A Grill Academy in Puebla’s Sonata Town Center conducted in coordination with RYC Alimentos. Participants learned how to grill U.S. cuts such as pork loin and baby back ribs.
- A grilling workshop in Aguascalientes organized in coordination with Obrador San Pancho and Cárnicos San Francisco. About 40 restaurant owners, chefs and distributors in the region took part. Chef Paul Molina from Bears in the Kitchen taught participants how to cook “chistorra” (sausage) burgers with Mexican-style chimichurri, tenderloin with chicharron prensado sauce, grilled pork belly and pork ribeye.
- A hands-on Weber grilling seminar held in Mérida, Yucatán, for 30 consumers of Super Aki, a supermarket chain which has promoted U.S. pork with USMEF through interactive courses on grilling techniques.
- Christmas pork promotion tastings in 104 Walmart, 36 S-Mart, 39 Soriana, 20 Super Aki, 17 Ramos and 37 Costco stores.
- “Easy Grill” tastings in 14 HEB stores, where USMEF promoted U.S. pork through cooked products ready to be heated on the grill.
- A slow cooking promotion conducted in 23 HEB stores. The retail chain assisted with advertising through social media and demonstrations were given to customers on the proper use of electric pots and slow cookers.