Veal, which frequently yields the export spotlight to U.S. beef, pork and lamb, was front-and-center recently when USMEF-Russia participated in two high-profile culinary events in Moscow.
A leading market for U.S. red meat exports until it closed in early 2013, Russia is still in the sights of American exporters hopeful that government-to-government discussions will produce a solution to the impasse on beta agonist residues. Until then, USMEF keeps U.S. products in view of Russian buyers in anticipation of the time when access is regained. And veal is one U.S. red meat product that continues to enjoy access there.
The first event focused on Russia’s food service industry – a forum that drew more than 200 HRI (hotel, restaurant and institutional) buyers and managers to Moscow to explore new trends. Funding for both events was provided through the USDA Market Access Program and the Beef Checkoff Program.
“The HRI segment in Russia is growing steadily,” said Galina Kochubeeva of USMEF-Moscow. “Sales grew 12 percent in 2012 and another 13 percent in 2013. Moscow and St. Petersburg remain the leaders in HRI concentration and growth, as well as the industry trendsetters, accounting for 41 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in terms of foodservice chain outlets.”
Kochubeeva noted that the relatively underdeveloped Russian foodservice market has strong growth potential. Russia currently has an estimated 88,000 restaurants, cafes and coffeehouses.
In addition to maintaining visibility for the U.S. industry in front of the Russian foodservice trades, the event also provided a venue for educating these key decision-makers regarding the quality and consistency of American veal.
USMEF-Russia partnered with kitchen equipment distributor Russian Project and U.S. frozen food giant Lamb Weston in providing U.S. veal top round roast, hanging tender and skirt steak samples for the program.
At the U.S. Meat & Wine event held in celebration of the 120th anniversary of the historic GUM department store in Moscow, USMEF showcased U.S. veal eye round, boneless brisket, top round, hanging tender, skirt and flank steaks and osso bucco for three dozen foodservice industry leaders including chefs and purchasing managers.
Russia has been closed to U.S. beef and pork since February 2013, although the two governments have held technical discussions regarding opportunities to resume exports from animals not fed beta agonists. In 2012, Russia purchased nearly $589 million worth of U.S. beef and pork products.