U.S. pork and beef were showcased earlier this month at a food show in Lima, Peru, conducted by the Makro wholesale club chain. USMEF’s participation was made possible through support from the Pork Checkoff and the Beef Checkoff Program.
Based in the Netherlands, Makro began operations in Peru in 2009. Its main target clientele is foodservice professionals from hotels, restaurants and catering companies who are specifically seeking high-quality food products for their businesses. This makes the Makro locations in Peru excellent venues for promoting U.S. pork and beef. U.S. pork – including St. Louis ribs and pork belly – is currently available in all 10 stores in Peru, while U.S. beef ribeyes, striploins, short ribs and chuck roll are available in three of its Lima locations.
Throughout the two-day event, USMEF operated a “U.S. Meats Corner” where USMEF staff and two local importers teamed up to display pork and beef items in a butcher shop setting that attracted more than 4,000 visitors.
U.S. pork ribs are increasing popular in the Peruvian market. On the show’s second day, USMEF conducted a pork ribs cooking seminar featuring Chef Cecilia Alfaro of the San Ignacio de Loyola gastronomy school. She prepared the ribs with a Peruvian barbecue sauce using tomato paste, vinegar and sugar, along with yellow peppers and panca chili peppers – which are very popular in Peruvian cuisine. The ribs were accompanied by a side dish of yucca with crispy bacon.
The demonstration emphasized the value and versatility pork ribs can add to a daily restaurant menu or a large catered event. More than 100 food show attendees participated in the seminar and provided very positive feedback on the quality of the pork ribs and the recipes demonstrated.
“The pork ribs cooking seminar capped off a very successful event,” said Jessica Julca, USMEF South America representative. “We received very positive comments from Makro personnel who felt U.S. pork and beef were a popular attraction at the show and they expressed interest in expanding the range of cuts offered at their stores.”
Peru is the largest South American destination for U.S. beef, with exports in 2014 totaling 13,276 metric tons (mt) valued at $33.7 million. While Peru is a critical market for beef variety meat items such as livers and tripe, there is also growing interest in higher-end muscle cuts.
U.S. pork is relatively new to the Peruvian market, but demand is rapidly increasing. In 2011, pork exports to Peru were just 400 mt valued at less than $1 million. But last year exports totaled 1,672 mt valued at $4.5 million.