USMEF continued its strategy of developing interest in U.S. beef in new regions of Europe by participating in Reaton Professional Days, a trade fair organized by the food distributor Reaton for its clients in three Baltic capital cities. Funding was provided by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program.
“USMEF intensified beef promotions in the Baltics last year, and since then we have managed to convince Reaton, one of the main HRI distributors in the region, to make U.S. beef its main product in the premium meat category,” said Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the European Union. “Initially we approached the market with select educational master classes on alternative cuts and followed with small retail promotions at a number of elite supermarkets in Latvia. We were building a base, and this year we are expanding into more U.S. beef promotions.”
Reaton Professional Days events took place in Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania. USMEF partnered with Zandbergen World’s Finest Meats, one of the largest importers of U.S. beef to the EU and Reaton’s U.S. beef supplier. Zandbergen covered the cost of the display, while USMEF contributed tasting demonstrations and three U.S. beef master classes conducted by Chef Fedor Gadalov of St. Petersburg. Gadalov has many years of experience working with U.S. beef, including training by the Texas Beef Council.
At the request of Reaton, who has surveyed the Baltic markets for cuts that are in high demand, USMEF highlighted U.S. beef brisket, top blade and short ribs.
“For USMEF, it was a unique opportunity over the course of six days to cover a lot of information for a very large audience of professionally-targeted chefs, restaurant owners and restaurant buyers,” said Barutkin.
More than 2,500 people attended the three separate events, with about 200 people taking part in the USMEF master classes.
“Ultimately we hope to see U.S. beef become more widely available in the Baltics,” said Barutkin. “The market has the potential to provide very good commercial channels, especially for alternative U.S. beef cuts.”