USMEF utilized two part-time chefs to prepare beef and pork samples for food and beverage managers, meat buyers and other food industry professionals who visited the USA pavilion. Five Filipino importers exhibited in the USMEF booth this year, providing their own chillers and freezers to display their company’s U.S. beef and pork products and responding to inquiries from booth visitors.
“The rationale behind having local importers in our booth was that these importers have played an instrumental part in our successful efforts to sell more U.S. beef and pork products in the Philippines,” explained USMEF-ASEAN director Sabrina Yin. “By providing them space in our booth, we can both interact more effectively with an important target audience and maximize the value of this trade show.”
World Food Expo also provided outstanding media exposure for U.S. beef and pork in the Filipino market. It was heavily publicized in World Food Exchange magazine – the only trade journal widely circulated to the country’s food industry – and in the Philippine Star, a daily English-language newspaper based in Manila with a nationwide circulation.
USMEF also sponsored a U.S. beef culinary competition as part of the Philippines Culinary Cup. Now in its second year, the Culinary Cup features 30 young participating chefs from restaurants and culinary institutes throughout the Philippines, as well as other countries in the region. Contestants utilized a wide variety of U.S. beef cuts such as ribeye, tenderloin, short ribs and oxtail, showcasing the versatility of U.S. beef products for international cuisine.
“Competitors were allowed to use any beef cut as long as it was U.S. beef,” said Yin. “This allowed greater flexibility for the chefs who hailed from different countries to be able to use the beef cuts that they are more familiar with. And the results were very impressive, as they produced many quality dishes.”
One of the fastest-growing markets in recent years for U.S. beef and pork, the Philippines has seen mixed results in 2011. Through July, U.S. beef exports (including variety meat) were up more than 30 percent in volume (7,881 metric tons or 17.4 million pounds) and 40 percent in value ($21.5 million). The Philippines is the largest market in the ASEAN region for U.S. pork exports, but due in part to stricter regulations regarding the sale of frozen imported pork, pork trade with the Philippines has slowed. Exports through July were down about one-third in volume to 22,921 metric tons (50.5 million pounds) and 22 percent in value to just under $52 million.