USMEF recently promoted U.S. pork and beef to one of the fastest growing hospitality sectors in Asia during Food & Hotel Vietnam 2015. Funding support for USMEF’s efforts at the show was provided by the Pork Checkoff, the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
The record-setting show in Ho Chi Minh City featured 470 exhibitors from 36 countries and nearly 11,000 attendees. During the three-day event, USMEF staff distributed U.S. pork and beef cut charts and informational brochures and answered questions from several existing and potential trade contacts. Staff coordinated meetings between USMEF members and local importers and organized the “Hot Cooking-U.S. Beef” category of the Vietnam Culinary Challenge.
“Overall, Food & Hotel Vietnam proved to be another great success for USMEF, as it provided outstanding exposure for U.S. pork and beef to the Vietnamese market,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN director. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. Many local restaurant chains continue to expand and more western food concepts are being introduced, which gives local diners more options. This is where it is important to promote the quality of U.S. red meat and provide menu ideas that feature U.S. pork and beef.”
According to Yin, Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to expand, with 2.6 million tourists arriving in the country over the first four months of 2015. Nearly 8 million tourists visited Vietnam in 2014.
USMEF joined other U.S. participants as part of the USA Pavilion, which was officially opened on the show’s first day by a visit from USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Administrator Philip Karsting and U.S. Consul General to Vietnam Rena Bitter. The USA Pavilion was about 60 percent larger compared to the 2013 show, Yin noted.
The U.S. beef portion of the Vietnam Culinary Challenge featured 23 young chefs from various hotels and restaurants in Vietnam competing against each other to come up with the best U.S. beef dish. Chosen as the cut for the competition was U.S. top sirloin butt center cut, which was selected because of its ability to be used in a variety of dishes. It is ideal to introduce such versatile cuts to the Vietnamese foodservice operators because it motivates them to add variety on their menus without compromising on quality, Yin said.
“The competition provided a platform for U.S. beef to be featured in an array of dishes infused with creative touches, as well as a chance for chefs to have a hands-on experience in utilizing U.S. beef,” Yin added. “This event provided excellent exposure for U.S. meat to be featured in a world-class cooking competition.”
Immediately following Food & Hotel Vietnam, USDA organized a U.S. Food Showcase and Reception, at which guests were treated to a buffet consisting of U.S. pork and beef dishes.