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Seminar Aims to Boost U.S. Beef Sales in the Middle East

Providing an innovative platform for educating Middle Eastern importers, distributors and retailers about the advantages of U.S. beef, USMEF hosted a seminar and dinner in Lebanon titled, “Sharpen Your Knowledge of and Sales Skills for U.S. Beef.” The day-long event held at the Hilton Beirut was funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program. It was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and the U.S. Office of Agricultural Affairs in Cairo.

Reaz Mehdi, general services officer of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, highlighted opportunities for U.S. beef in the country’s growing retail and foodservice sectors

Reaz Mehdi, general services officer of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, highlighted opportunities for U.S. beef in the country’s growing retail and foodservice sectors

Two professionals in the region considered to be U.S. beef experts – chef Lubna Alamat and butcher Ziad Muasher, founders of “The Butcher and The Chef” company in Jordan – were selected to lead educational sessions. The duo combined corporate coaching, sales mentoring, beef merchandising, butchering skills and cooking demonstrations to create a highly interactive presentation that combined meat science with innovative techniques designed to boost sales. They also introduced merchandising ideas for alternative cuts of U.S. beef, noting these cuts’ importance in meeting challenges caused by economic and demographic changes that impact the region’s retail and foodservice sectors.

Chef Lubna Alamat and butcher Ziad Muasher of “The Butcher and the Chef” demonstrated the attributes and versatility of U.S. beef

Chef Lubna Alamat and butcher Ziad Muasher of “The Butcher and the Chef” demonstrated the attributes and versatility of U.S. beef

Alternative cuts of U.S. beef presented during the seminar included tri-tip, brisket, flat iron, short ribs, chuck roll and striploin. USDA Prime and Choice middle meats were also highlighted.

“Educating sales teams, butchers and retail staff about U.S. beef’s attributes and quality – while also keeping them updated on the value and availability of alternative cuts – was the primary goal of this event,” said Lina Kanaan, USMEF representative in the Middle East. “When butchers and meat counters increase their sales, the demand for U.S. beef grows and the U.S. beef industry benefits.”

Lina Kanaan (with microphone), USMEF representative in the Middle East, answers questions during a discussion about U.S. beef

Lina Kanaan (with microphone), USMEF representative in the Middle East, answers questions during a discussion about U.S. beef

Kanaan kicked off the seminar by welcoming participants and emphasizing USMEF’s mission and commitment to provide technical and promotional support to importers and distributors of U.S. beef. Remarks were also made by Reaz Mehdi, general services officer of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, who highlighted the opportunities for U.S. beef in the country’s growing retail and hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector.

Following the USMEF seminar, participants were treated to a dinner featuring U.S. beef

Following the USMEF seminar, participants were treated to a dinner featuring U.S. beef

Keynote speaker Ali Abdi, minister counselor of the U.S. Office of Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, covered topics related to U.S. agriculture and pointed to the dedication of U.S. farmers and cattle producers to deliver quality meat products. He applauded the efforts of USMEF to promote U.S. beef and maintain a strong presence in price-driven markets like Lebanon and Jordan.

After the educational session, a U.S. beef tasting dinner was held. Alamat and Muasher prepared and served hickory-smoked tri-tip bruschetta with a Santa Maria salsa, hickory-smoked tri-tip summer salad, seared flat iron steaks with chimichurri sauce, mesquite-smoked brisket, wine-braised chuck short ribs, smoked short ribs and bone-in Prime ribeye rubbed with garlic.

The U.S. beef seminar and dinner gained notable print and social media coverage. A full page article appeared in Hospitality News Magazine.