U.S. beef was recently promoted at a special showcase in Paris that featured top French chefs, several prominent food distributors and two dozen members of the French media. The effort was part of USMEF’s marketing strategy in Europe aimed at raising awareness, improving overall knowledge and encouraging increased consumption of U.S. beef. Funding support for the event, which was held at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley, was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Four well-respected French chefs prepared meals spotlighting U.S. beef, while meat distributor Les Boucheries Nivernaises, which already sells U.S. beef to restaurants and other customers, provided USDA Prime beef for the event.
The evening began with each chef explaining the forthcoming beef dishes to the guests as they were being prepared. Reporters and photographers took great interest in these presentations, as recipes and photographs appeared in several French print and online publications.
Overall goals for the event — showcasing U.S. beef and bringing French chefs up to speed with the variety of uses for the featured cuts – are important steps toward making France one of the most prominent markets for U.S. meat in the European Union. Felipe Macias, a USMEF representative in the region, set the stage for this effort by offering attendees an educational presentation titled “The U.S. Beef Difference,” which highlighted the quality and versatility of U.S. beef.
“This event was aimed at hitting the influencers,” Macias explained. “The strategy in France, as it is in other European countries, consists of working with the chefs and others in the food industry trade, including major wholesalers.”
Those outside of the trade recognized the efforts to promote U.S. beef.
“We are very proud of its quality that meets the needs of restaurateurs and food distributors even if the promotion of U.S. beef in Europe isn’t always easy,” Uzra Zeya, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, told Viande Magazine, a popular French magazine that published a feature article on the event that cast a positive light on U.S. beef.
According to Macias, France is one of the most promising European markets for U.S. beef in terms of population, consumption, and the number of high-end restaurants and retailers, and noted that statistics may not capture U.S. beef’s popularity in France.
“There are no direct importers of U.S. beef in France — all the beef coming into the market is purchased from importers elsewhere in Europe,” said Macias. “Yet, most if not all major importers are selling U.S beef in France through different wholesalers and foodservice companies.”
The Viande piece provided Macias with an opportunity to address the U.S. feeding practices that give U.S. beef its superb marbling and consistently high quality.
“Tasting of the U.S. beef was only part of the effort,” Macias said. “We saw this event as an opportunity to provide a strong education on U.S. beef to an important group of guests, who then can share the information with many more people.”
Along with Embassy staff and members of the media, those in attendance included more nearly 100 chefs and food distributor representatives. Each attendee was given a promotional kit with printed materials and a dossier featuring information about U.S. beef.