Focusing on top blade, rib fingers, hanging tender and other cuts used in popular hotpot dishes, USMEF recently partnered with one of China’s largest retail food chains to demonstrate the advantages of alternative cuts of U.S. beef. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, “U.S. Hand-Cut Beef Hotpot Festivals” were held at four City Super locations in Shanghai.
Several U.S. beef cuts were put on display inside each store’s meat department and USMEF representatives were on hand to answer questions and provide information about the attributes and availability of these items. Nearby, City Super employees put into practice U.S. beef cutting techniques taught at a previous USMEF seminar, preparing hand-cut U.S. beef top blade muscle and hanging tender for hotpot dishes served at the in-store festivals.
Following traditional hotpot methods, the beef was supplemented by only a small amount of onion and ginger and dipped into a clear soup.
Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China, explained that the special hotpot events were part of an ongoing effort by City Super to introduce U.S. beef to more of its customers in China.
“Since U.S. beef reentered the market, City Super has been making great strides to build a positive image for its customer base,” said Liang. “Although tariffs and high prices have made selling U.S. beef a bit challenging, we noticed throughout this activity that, given the opportunity to taste U.S. beef, more and more consumers show a preference for the product.”
Liang noted that City Super carries U.S. beef short ribs and ribeyes but would like to increase the shelf space it uses for alternative cuts such as those featured in the hotpot festivals.
“Alternative U.S. beef cuts are affordable and offer great value, and we have been promoting that in both the retail and foodservice sectors,” he added. “Giving consumers a taste of these cuts is an important part of our strategy to create demand for U.S. beef.”
(NOTE: These promotional activities were conducted before coronavirus became a major health concern in China and other Asian markets.)