Working to promote U.S. red meat in Chile, USMEF conducted a weeklong series of promotions to introduce importers in the market to new applications for U.S. cuts and new ideas for restaurant and foodservice menus. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff, “U.S. Meat Promotion Week” activities included a U.S. Burger Workshop, participation in the Espacio Food and Service Show, a Chilean Independence Day luncheon organized by the U.S. Embassy and a retail promotion highlighting a variety of U.S. beef and pork cuts.
U.S. Burger Workshop
A U.S. Burger Workshop kicked off the week, as USMEF hosted 80 Chilean importers and their foodservice clients, including staff and managers from two dozen restaurant chains including TGI Fridays, Hard Rock Café, Pizza Hut and Tony Roma’s.
The benefits of using high-quality U.S. beef to create gourmet-style burgers was the focus of the workshop.
Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America, said a large percentage of beef imported into Chile is chuck roll; other popular cuts are short ribs, outside skirt and middle meats such as ribeye and striploin.
“With these cuts already in the market and with the growing interest from the foodservice sector in innovative menu items, we decided to promote the gourmet burger trend,” said Julca. “We worked with importers who supply the Chilean foodservice sector to identify key customers and potential customers who seem willing to embrace this trend.”
For the workshop, USMEF developed a program highlighting the use of high quality raw material for premium burgers that would be an asset on the menus of restaurants and foodservice companies. A deep dive into the quality and makeup of U.S. beef, reviewing the options available to importers, was part of the presentation.
Topics covered included:
- Fat: why it is important for flavor, as well as differences between types of fat.
- Advantages of buying entire cuts of U.S. beef for in-house grinding and blending.
- Use of middle cuts and trimmings in a house blend to maximize yield and create new dishes or enhance current burger offerings.
- Buying U.S. ground beef in bulk and the process of using it to create a house blend for burgers.
A lunch featuring U.S. beef burgers made with a blend of 60 percent chuck roll and 40 percent short ribs followed the presentation, allowing participants to taste gourmet-style burgers and understand the flavors.
Espacio Food and Service Show
While USMEF did not have a booth at this year’s Espacio Food and Service Show – a major food industry show held in the Santiago suburb of Huechuraba – it supported importers exhibiting at the show and partnered with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to present U.S. beef and pork products at the U.S. Foods Table.
Educational programs on U.S. red meat, cooking demonstrations by regional chefs and tasting sessions were conducted by USMEF in an interactive kitchen display. The display highlighted U.S. beef chuck roll and brisket, with USMEF chefs explaining the origins and attributes of these cuts along with tips on how to cut and prepare them.
Chilean Independence Day
USMEF also took part in an Independence Day lunch hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Santiago. Chilean Independence Day fell during the Espacio show, leading the Embassy to host a lunch for its staff to celebrate the holiday. The lunch included local cuisine, along with U.S. beef and pork dishes using cuts donated by importers exhibiting at the show.
“We talked with U.S. Ambassador Carol Perez and were able to have U.S. beef and pork products available at all the official activities,” said Julca. “That sort of thing goes a long way toward creating awareness of U.S. products in the market.”
Jumbo Hypermarkets, a major supermarket chain operating in Chile, Argentina, Peru and in Colombia, promoted U.S. beef and pork in its stores as part of Independence Day. U.S. beef chuck roll, outside skirt, coulotte, tri-tip, short ribs and flank steak, as well as U.S. pork spareribs were featured in the promotions.