U.S. pork and beef products used for Korean barbecue dishes were highlighted by USMEF during International Franchise Seoul, one of the longest-running exhibitions for South Korea’s franchising sector. Efforts to promote U.S. pork, processed pork items and beef to retail and foodservice businesses were funded by the USDA Market Access Program, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program.
The 2018 Franchise Seoul show attracted more than 20,000 visitors and featured a total of 630 display booths promoting 300 brands. More than 70 percent of those brands were foodservice-related franchises – and it was estimated that more than 60 percent of the visitors to the show were restaurant owners or people interested in starting a new restaurant business.
“International Franchise Seoul connects those in the food business to emerging trends and provides the latest market information for those in the industry,” explained Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea. “For those who are interested in starting new food businesses, this show is where they can find products and services, so it is a great place to showcase U.S. red meat.”
Along with promoting U.S. pork and beef cuts, USMEF introduced U.S. processed pork products that can be sold by businesses in Korea’s retail sector.
During the show, end users like restaurants and online shopping mall operators visited the USMEF booth to make inquiries about U.S. processed pork items and learn about potential suppliers. Other visitors included owners of a popular pork barbecue franchise in Korea that is considering starting a new line of business using U.S. beef, as well as a Korean-style beef sashimi franchise that is exploring adding U.S. beef to its menu.
Putting U.S. pork and beef in front of Korean businessmen and women is the first step toward capturing new customers, Yang pointed out.
“Many of the visitors who stopped at the USMEF booth asked about U.S. pork and beef suppliers and about pricing,” said Yang. “There was a lot of interest by franchise managers in the U.S. products, which is certainly good news. This exhibition gives us a very good opportunity to meet people from all types and sizes of restaurant businesses. We also met distributors and people preparing to enter the butcher shop business.”