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USMEF-Mexico Promotion Boosts Sales of Grilling Pork Cuts at HEB Stores

USMEF-Mexico recently conducted a first-ever promotion with the HEB supermarket chain showcasing the quality and versatility of U.S. pork cuts used for grilling. HEB is one of several regional supermarket chains in Mexico that USMEF views as a key target in its efforts to further penetrate Mexico’s retail sector. The promotion was conducted at 22 of HEB’s 32 Mexican locations with support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Pork Checkoff, but also received significant financial and product support from HEB. The locations selected are in Monterrey, Mexico’s second-largest city, and León, a rapidly growing industrial city in central Mexico.
HEB customers sample U.S. pork in Monterrey, Mexico

HEB customers sample U.S. pork in Monterrey, Mexico

The strategy behind the promotion was to communicate the positive attributes of U.S. pork to HEB customers by grilling product samples and providing cooking tips and promotional materials. Demonstrators grilled samples on six consecutive weekends. Customers were also invited to purchase full portions of selected U.S. pork products and have grilling experts cook them free-of-charge outside the store.

“HEB customers responded to this promotion in a big way,” said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. “We are pleased with the results, both in terms of the amount of product sold and the fact that USMEF was able to execute a very successful promotion with a new retail partner. Regional supermarket chains are a key focus for us at this time, as we look for ways to further expand the presence of U.S. pork at the retail level.”

With December results still to be published, U.S. pork exports to Mexico (including both muscle cuts and variety meat) totaled 477,221 metric tons (about 1.05 billion pounds) in 2011, valued at $925.3 million. This is slightly below the record pace of 2010 in terms of volume, but December results should push export value past the previous, single-year record of $986.7 million. With a strong December, Mexico could become the first international market other than Japan to import more than $1 billion in U.S. pork in a single calendar year.