Partnering with a major importer/distributor, USMEF conducted a series of retail promotions in Sweden to establish greater demand for alternative cuts of U.S. beef. The campaign, coordinated with Stockholm-based Gourmet Food, was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.
A total of 16 events were held at some of the largest retail locations in Sweden, which is already one of the most solid markets for U.S. beef in the European Union.
“The objective is not only to inform consumers about the presence of U.S. beef at retail, but to also educate them about particular attributes of U.S. beef and introduce them to alternative cuts,” explained Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the region. “Sweden is already a good market for U.S. beef sales, but it has room for further growth.”
Most of the retail demonstrations were conducted by Gourmet Food’s in-house chef Thomas Anagrius, who has sound knowledge of U.S. beef and was able to address questions from curious Swedish consumers.
“Swedes, in general, have a very open attitude toward imported food and are very keen to try new items,” said Barutkin. “In fact, sales of high-quality beef in Sweden have advanced much more quickly than in many parts of Europe. Swedish consumers tend to be much better educated about high-quality beef, know a lot about various cuts and are anxious to try those new cuts at home.”
Barutkin noted that Sweden’s foodservice sector has featured alternative beef cuts for some time and the country has an abundance of steakhouses and high-end burger joints, but retailers have also shown growing interest in U.S. beef. Swedish retailers sell a variety of portion-controlled alternative beef steaks from all over the world – including the U.S.
Along with traditional consumer fairs and festivals, retail promotions are an effective way to let more Swedish consumers taste U.S. beef and discover that different cuts can be used in a variety of ways.
Gourmet Food, which supplies Sweden’s restaurants and foodservice businesses with food from all over the world, certainly recognizes the competitive nature of the global red meat market.
“The U.S. beef product demonstrations have become a good way of allowing end consumers to taste the meat, and they are also an important vehicle to get more new cuts out into the market,” said Christian Dyjée, market manager for Gourmet Food. “Competition has intensified, with different cuts from other beef-exporting countries as well as domestic Swedish beef. But U.S. beef most often has an advantage when it comes to flavor and tenderness, and our retail promotions offer an opportunity to demonstrate and explain that.”
USMEF has been pleased with the cooperation of Gourmet Food.
“USMEF’s mission in Sweden is to stimulate bigger sales of alternative cuts and Gourmet Food have been very professional in pursuing this objective,” said Barutkin. “The success of alternative U.S. beef cuts in Sweden is something we hope to replicate elsewhere in Europe.”