In response to the growing popularity of hot pot dining in Taiwan, USMEF conducted its first U.S. Beef Hot Pot Festival, recruiting 164 hot pot restaurants that feature U.S. beef on their menus. The month-long promotion, funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program, attracted establishments that serve sukiyaki, shabushabu, spicy and delicate hot pots.
The promotion included several activities connected by a common theme: “Enjoying delicious U.S. beef and hot pot together.” A special website was also created to attract interest in the hot pot festival.
“Taiwanese consumers have become fond of hot pots, so this was an excellent opportunity to highlight the quality and taste of U.S. beef, because the major ingredient of a hot pot is the meat,” said Davis Wu, USMEF director in Taiwan. “Hot pot cooking is a fantastic way to show our product’s superiority in flavor, juiciness and even price as Japanese wagyu beef begins entering the Taiwanese market.”
A “buy one, get one free” U.S. beef party officially launched the hot pot festival and consumers were encouraged to invite family and friends to share hot pots in participating restaurants. Patty Wu – a famous TV star in Taiwan and a fan of U.S. beef – attended the party, playing interactive games with participants and sharing her personal cooking tips for beef.
“I love to eat hot pot with U.S. beef for sure, and boneless short ribs is my favorite cut because of its beautiful marbling and juicy taste,” she told consumers at the launch.
Another activity at the festival involved a professional dating service in Taiwan known as “Lovely.” The group has more than 130,000 members, and about 100 who expressed their love of U.S. beef were invited to gather for an event. Also, online events were held on a Facebook page, including “One Dollar Challenge” that offered participants a chance to win a coupon to have hot pot meals with family or friends. A website dedicated to the hot pot was also created by Lovely to generate interest and help promote U.S. beef consumption.
“We shared knowledge of hot pots and U.S. beef with them through interactive games and tastings, and feedback from the participants indicated that this ‘dating party’ was the best they ever had, mainly because of the food served,” said Wu.
Importers indicated the hot pot promotion helped them build stronger relationships with their restaurant clients.
On social media, the promotion gained exceptional interest, reaching more than 500,000 people on Facebook. The number of Facebook “fans” increased by 1,926 during the promotional period.