Country music and an American chef preparing U.S. beef striploin and ribeye steaks anchored a USMEF “Let’s Meat with U.S. Beef” event at a Lulu Hypermarket in Dubai. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, the activity was part of a series of in-store promotions designed to increase awareness of chilled U.S. beef in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
USMEF set up a booth at the meat counter of the Lulu store located inside the Arabian Center Mall. The display included a cooking station and banners highlighting U.S. beef’s attributes: “Cook the Best Succulent, Juicy & Tender BBQ and Steaks with U.S. Beef” and “Perfect Marbling for Perfect Flavor.” A musician played guitar and performed country songs, attracting a large audience.
David Arnold, corporate executive chef at JM Food, cooked U.S. beef steaks while sharing information about U.S. beef and offering cooking tips and recipes for new dishes. Shoppers were given tasting samples of the steaks and fact sheets on storage recommendations, defrosting guidelines and the nutritional benefits of beef.
Arnold also provided Lulu butchers with tips and advice on proper beef cutting and handling.
According to Lulu management, the “Let’s Meat with U.S. Beef” event resulted in a 150% increase in U.S. beef sales on the day of the event.
“Our focus has been on building and growing demand for U.S. beef – and especially chilled U.S. beef products – at Lulu’s many locations because it is one of the largest retail outlets in the UAE and has been a loyal advocate for U.S. beef,” said Eliane Elia, USMEF representative in the Middle East. “The consumers who participated in the Arabian Center Mall activity really enjoyed the products and there were many comments about the flavor and tenderness of U.S. beef. Many of the Lulu shoppers were local residents who have high purchasing power, so we were successful in reaching our target audience.”
Elia said the promotion was part of an increased effort by USMEF to boost awareness of U.S. beef in the UAE, which has a very competitive retail sector.
The UAE is the largest destination in the Middle East for U.S. beef muscle cuts. Through September, exports were steady with last year’s pace at 4,177 metric tons while value was down slightly to $43.8 million.