With support from USDA, the Beef Checkoff Program and the Texas Beef Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) promoted U.S. beef at Gulfood, one of the world’s largest food trade shows. The event was held Feb. 20-24 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says Gulfood attendance was outstanding this year, rebounding to pre-COVID levels and perhaps setting an all-time record. He added that while the majority of the show’s attendees are from the Middle East, Gulfood also attracts thousands of prospective buyers from Africa and Asia.
A wide range of U.S. beef products are promoted at Gulfood, with some markets focused on center-of-the-plate cuts for foodservice clientele, while others are seeking beef variety meat items. Halstrom notes that in some countries in the Middle East and Africa, initial sales of beef variety meat often lead to expanded demand for beef muscle cuts.
According to USDA data compiled by USMEF, beef and beef variety meat exports to the Middle East region totaled more than 66,000 metric tons last year, up 3% from 2021, while value jumped 34% to $297 million. Egypt is the largest destination for U.S. beef livers – not only in the Middle East region, but globally. The leading markets in the region for beef muscle cuts are the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.