Combining good, old-fashioned cooking classes with trendy social media websites, USMEF-Korea recently brought three small-scale events to the attention of a broad audience of targeted Korean consumers.
Developed with funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the United Soybean Board, the combination of active blogger participants and sponsorship by a popular food-related website has given this event visibility far beyond the original 15 couples. Some of the bloggers’ reports can be found here:
Boneless short rib carpaccio, grilled chuck flap tail with rose pasta, and ribeye steak with herb salt were the featured dishes that the romantic couples learned to prepare through chef Jung’s demonstration and sampling. The event was promoted to the 1 million members of The 11st shopping club.
Part of the attraction for the audience is the work of chef Hwang, who studied culinary arts in Germany for six years and won medals at international culinary competitions in Vienna, Austria. The cooking class reached a substantial audience thanks to the 7 million members of Ezyday, most of whom are in the 30-to-40 age range. The website attracts 250,000 unique visitors and 3 million page views daily on average.
“The visibility that these events get through the Internet is substantial, but it’s equally valuable for us to get firsthand feedback from consumers and leading chefs,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director.
Yang also noted that the willingness of Internet shopping sites to promote U.S. beef was encouraging, since these are sites that many young Korean women frequent to get ideas on what food to buy and how to prepare it for their families.
“The owner of The Delicacies & Cookery Paradise drove several hours to Seoul just to sit in on our class,” said Yang. “He said that it was great seeing his members enjoying the class, and that he plans to continue supporting USMEF cooking classes.”
Through the first four months of 2013, South Korea is the No. 5 export market for both U.S. beef, having purchased 37,886 metric tons (83.5 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $199.7 million.