Offering new menu ideas to South Korea’s institutional catering sector while working to displace competitors of U.S. pork and beef, USMEF participated in the Samsung Welstory Food Festa, a private exhibition for foodservice buyers. USMEF’s marketing efforts, which included displays of frozen and chilled U.S. pork and beef, were funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program.
Alex Choi, USMEF assistant marketing manager in Korea, said the event provided an opportunity to highlight the advantages of U.S. pork and beef for more than 800 customers of Samsung Welstory, one of the largest foodservice and institutional catering companies in Korea.
Choi presented visitors with a look at U.S. pork and beef production, along with pricing forecasts, an explanation of the USDA beef grading system, current meat consumption trends and USMEF’s “farm to table” promotion for U.S. red meat.
USMEF showcased popular frozen and chilled cuts, offering tasting samples that included marinated U.S. beef and U.S. pork bulgogi – dishes commonly used by Korea’s institutional catering sector. U.S. chilled top blade steak, which is one of the most popular cuts in the Korean restaurant sector, was also offered during sampling sessions.
“To create brand identity for U.S. pork and beef we focused on specific products, educating foodservice clients and potential clients about the quality and value of each cut,” said Choi. “Visitors to the USMEF booth purchase products from Welstory, so their interests and inquiries during the show were very specific. Thus, the time we spent educating the customers about U.S. pork and beef was very valuable.”
Choi noted that many of Korea’s institutional catering businesses have in the past preferred Australian beef and domestic or European pork.
“However, the managers and buyers have started to show great interest in U.S. pork and beef due to the consistent supply and competitive prices,” said Choi. “For example, after USMEF’s introduction of U.S. beef clod into the Korean market at the end of 2016, U.S. beef is getting more attention from institutional catering companies that were users of Australian beef. Also, the presence of U.S. pork Boston butt is gradually increasing in this sector.”