A top-three chain in Taiwan, RT-Mart with its 26 outlets has been a long-term partner with USMEF, so it recently agreed to a two-week joint promotion on U.S. beef supported with funding from the Beef Checkoff Program.
Under the theme of “U.S. Beef Festival,” the promotion featured boneless short ribs, top blade muscle, chuck short ribs and short plate. As an incentive for shoppers, a sea salt gift was added for each purchase over 699 Taiwan dollars (about $23).
The promotion provided desired short-term results: a 17 percent increase over pre-promotion sales levels, reaching 136,400 pounds.
“This is a very positive result given the fluctuating level of imports and consumer cautions regarding imported beef,” said Alex Sun, USMEF-Taiwan marketing manager.
USMEF coordinated a second promotion with a longtime U.S. beef merchant, Taiwan Fresh, which has 40 supermarket outlets in central Taiwan. A loyal partner that has continued to stock U.S. beef despite some negative consumer reactions, Taiwan Fresh conducted its own month-long promotion, featuring chuck flap, top blade muscle, chuck tender, chuck roll, bone-in and boneless short ribs, rib fingers, ribeye, pastrami, heel muscle and eye of round.
While not all retailers share their post-promotion sales levels, Taiwan Fresh disclosed that its joint promotion with USMEF is generating lasting sales benefits. Prior to the promotion, U.S. beef sales levels for the period were roughly 5,580 pounds. During the promotion, they more than doubled to 11,440 pounds. In a sign of growing consumer confidence, Taiwan’s sales of U.S. beef only declined slightly in the following month, holding at 10,780 pounds.
During the promotion, USMEF and Taiwan Fresh provided consumers with information on wet-aging techniques as well as information on how to prepare the variety of beef cuts.
“Supporting retailers strategically contributes to maintaining the level of chilled beef imports among importers and allows for more frequent purchases by retailers,” said USMEF-Taiwan Director Davis Wu. “This helps enhance buyer loyalty and helps us in the long run.”
Through the first nine months of 2011, U.S. beef exports stand at 25,893 metric tons (57.1 million pounds) valued at $142.4 million – decreases of 6 percent and 5 percent respectively when compared to last year, but showing signs of rebounding in September.