At the request of a food distributor in South America, USMEF conducted U.S. pork processed meat training sessions for foodservice managers in three major Colombian cities. The training, held in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, was funded by the Pork Checkoff.
Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America, noted the growth in Colombia’s imports of U.S. processed pork products and that the U.S. continues to be the market’s leading supplier. Austin SAS, a distributor in Colombia for more than 40 years, began handling Hormel value-added products in 2012.
“The Hormel products are promoted and distributed in retail and foodservice sectors in Colombia and include brands such as Austin Blues and Spam, with products like fully-cooked smoked ribs, bacon, bacon toppings and, of course, Spam,” explained Julca. “Along with training Austin’s foodservice clients and potential clients, we provided Austin staff members with an overview of the U.S. pork industry, including background information on how hogs are raised in the U.S. and updates on the U.S. pork export market.”
Mexican food safety expert Manuel Samperio, cost management expert Jose Andres Toro and Luis Nieto, Latin American manager for Hormel Foods, also spoke at the training sessions.
The training also featured educational presentations on the quality of U.S. pork and the importance of high-quality raw materials in producing consistent, marketable processed products.
Other topics covered were food safety regulation and controls in place in the U.S. red meat industry and the availability of U.S. pork value-added products in Colombia.
All three training sessions featured lunch centered on a main course with Austin Blues U.S. pork rib tips and a dessert that included bacon.
“U.S. pork continues to have a strong share of the market in Colombia, but we recognize there is potential for even more growth and that there is competition,” said Julca.