Increasing sales of U.S. beef liver in the northwestern region of South America was the goal of a series of promotions organized by USMEF in partnership with a major importer and distributor based in Colombia. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, the three-month activity included cooking demonstrations and tastings in the Colombian cities of Cartagena, Santa Marta and Barranquilla.
W&L Worldwide Trading, a company that not only imports and distributes food and beverages but also works with clients to introduce new products in the market, was eager to team with USMEF in order to improve awareness of U.S. beef liver for one of its major clients – Mar y Vino (Sea and Wine), a wholesale distributor that sells to both consumers and retail stores.
“Our strategy was to offer their customers and potential customers a taste experience different from the two beef liver dishes traditionally served in coastal Colombia – liver and onions and liver soup,” said Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America. “We set up tastings at about a dozen different locations, sharing information with customers and explaining the quality and advantages of U.S. beef liver. We also conducted demonstrations on thawing and handling frozen beef liver, then offered tips on preparation and serving.”
With Mar y Vino staff as the main audience, USMEF Chef Nicolas Diaz led trainings and educational sessions on the U.S. beef industry and the attributes of U.S. beef liver.
He oversaw local chefs who prepared four dishes for the U.S. beef tastings: liver croquettes, liver-stuffed potato dumplings, liver sticks and liver with orange sauce.
“There was a tremendous response from the people who sampled the U.S. beef liver dishes, and many were surprised at the options we presented,” said Julca. “People grow up thinking liver can be prepared only one way, or maybe two ways. Expanding the options is a way to encourage consumers to purchase beef liver more often and try different methods of cooking.”
According to Julca, Mar y Vino had been selling an average of four metric tons of liver per month. Thanks to the USMEF promotions, the company has seen an uptick in demand and managed to market its first full container of U.S. beef liver in a period of 45 days. Based on those results, it has developed a plan to import a container of U.S. beef liver every 40 days.
The promotion in Colombia was part of USMEF’s ongoing trade servicing and marketing activities to promote U.S. beef liver in a broader range of international markets. Along with Colombia, Peru and Chile in South America, other destinations identified as having growth potential for beef liver are South Africa, Angola, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal in Africa, as well as the Central American countries of Honduras and Nicaragua.