Introducing U.S. beef to restaurant operators in Germany’s capital city, USMEF participated in Berlin Food Week, an annual festival that features consumer workshops, celebrity chefs and special menu promotions. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, USMEF capitalized on the fact the U.S. products were the focus of this year’s festival by showcasing the quality and taste of U.S. beef. USMEF is a contractor to the beef checkoff.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Berlin organized the effort and invited USMEF, along with other American food industry organizations. Public food markets, exclusive dinners and a marquee event called “Stadt Menu” (city menu), where nearly 50 local restaurants creatively incorporated U.S. beef and California wine into special dinners, were part of the week’s festivities.
According to Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the European Union, the festival also included street food tastings, media sessions and social media activities.
“A special menu labeled ‘The Roast Trip’ was available at restaurants for the entire week,” explained Barutkin. “By facilitating and encouraging this special menu development, USMEF was able to place U.S. beef dishes not only at restaurants that have served U.S. beef in the past but also with many new restaurants that may be interested in featuring U.S. beef.”
The Roast Trip menus and the entire Berlin Food Week was supported by advertising, television coverage and through two pre-festival receptions. Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, hosted a reception for more than 100 restaurant owners, chefs, importers, distributors and journalists. Held at the U.S. Embassy, the event included a dinner featuring U.S. beef cuts, U.S. cheeses and a variety of U.S. wines. A second reception helped open the festival and was attended by 300 guests.
“Germany remains the number one market in Europe for U.S. beef and we want to further expand its presence,” Barutkin noted. “It is therefore very important for us to emphasize the availability of U.S. beef to German restaurateurs and consumers. Given the reactions and response we received during Berlin Food Week, I think we were able to accomplish that.”
The goal is for restaurants in Berlin to keep U.S. beef on menus long after Berlin Food Week.
“Lack of capacity under the EU’s duty-free beef quota is an ongoing concern in this market, and one that we hope is addressed soon,” Barutkin said. “Nonetheless, despite these challenges, Berlin Food Week served as an excellent platform for U.S. beef and we are confident that we can continue to add U.S. beef customers.”