Placing a special emphasis on home meal replacement (HMR) and other convenience-style meal kits made with U.S. pork and beef, USMEF participated in Seoul Food 2019, the largest food trade show in South Korea and one of the top four in Asia. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, the effort included tastings of U.S. pork belly, collar butt and processed pork items, along with U.S. beef chuck eye roll, top blade, tenderloin and striploin.
USMEF is a contractor of the National Pork Board and a subcontractor of the Beef Checkoff.
A short video showing activity at the USMEF booth during this year’s Seoul Food can be seen here.
This year’s show attracted more than 1,500 exhibitors and 55,000 attendees. USMEF’s booth featured a special area where various meal kits were displayed. Harry Harris, U.S. ambassador to South Korea, visited with USMEF staff on the first day of the show and enjoyed samples of U.S. beef chuck eye roll.
“Seoul Food is the best venue to introduce new U.S. red meat cuts and dishes to customers and talk business with the largest food importers to learn what they are thinking, which products are currently in demand and what will be in demand in the future,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF director in Korea. “This year we highlighted HMR kits using U.S. pork and beef. We also included a display with portion-controlled meat items and processed pork items to provide distributors and buyers with various options to help them meet demands of Korean consumers who are looking for time-saving and cost-saving meal options and ideas.”
Yang said Korea’s HMR market more than doubled between 2011 and 2018 and the meal kits are gaining even more popularity in Korea as the number of single-person households increases.
“Convenience has been a key word for the last few years, due to continuous lifestyle changes for Koreans who now have great demand for convenience foods,” said Yang. “This demand for HMR and meal kits is driving ademand for meat products, so we have been working hard to demonstrate how U.S. pork and beef are great centerpieces for these kits.”
Many of the HMR and meal kits showcased by USMEF are current sold at leading retail stores in Korea, such as Costco, Homeplus and Emart — and through major Korean e-commerce sites like Coupang.
USMEF also displayed portion-controlled U.S. beef and pork cuts and processed pork items supplied to institutional catering companies throughout Korea.
Information sheets and brochures were distributed to show visitors and USMEF received many inquiries about specific U.S. pork and beef products and suppliers.