U.S. beef liver sandwiches and liver meatballs were served to consumers in Lima, Peru, as part of an ongoing campaign to create awareness of beef liver’s role in helping combat anemia. With funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), the U.S. beef liver cooking demonstration and tasting activity were conducted by USMEF in partnership with Grupo Pecuario, a major importer of U.S. beef variety meat in Peru.
The activity took place in San Juan de Lurigancho, one of the most populated districts in Lima and an area that has a large population of families with young children.
“In 2019, the Peruvian Health Ministry launched a nationwide campaign to reduce anemia, working with more than 850 communities to focus on health and nutritional needs of kids age 11 and under,” explained Jessica Julca, USMEF representative in South America. “The USMEF campaign promoting U.S. beef liver as a good source of iron to fight anemia started last year, and this recent effort with Grupo Pecuario and San Juan de Lurigancho authorities was very successful in getting our message to consumers and pushing the campaign forward.”
Anemia in Peru has risen in the past two years due to a shortage of animal protein sources and iron intake, with the national anemia rate in children climbing to 47%. In response, the Peruvian Health Ministry launched a nationwide effort to prevent and reduce anemia called #AmorDeHierro (“Love Iron”), with a goal to reduce the anemia rate to 20% by 2021.
The campaign takes a variety of approaches in providing information to consumers about healthy eating habits and encouraging liver consumption to raise iron intake.
In Lima, USMEF Chef Nicolas Diaz led a cooking demonstration, providing background information and instruction on preparing U.S. beef liver sandwiches with sweet potatoes and U.S. beef liver meatballs. Consumers were then able to taste the dishes and ask questions about the ingredients and cooking methods. Medical students were available to share information about anemia and answer questions about the nutritional value of beef liver.
USMEF’s goal of increasing demand for U.S. beef liver in Peru and other South American markets will take time, but Julca noted that a few countries are beginning to see progress.
“As more South Americans learn about the nutritional value of beef liver and different ways to serve it to their families, the more beef liver will become part of their regular diet,” she said. “There is great potential to export more U.S. beef livers to the region and USMEF will continue to explore new ways to educate consumers.”
U.S. frozen beef liver exports to Peru totaled 4,113 metric tons (mt) in 2019, a 3% increase from 2018. Overall, South America took 9.3% of total U.S. beef liver exports in 2019, down slightly from 9.4% in 2018 and 9.5% in 2017.
Exports to Chile were record-high in 2019, while exports to Peru and Colombia were the second highest following records set in 2011 and 2018, respectively.
Globally, U.S. beef liver exports in 2019 were 86,572 mt, the highest since 2014, when annual exports totaled 88,226 mt. Egypt continued to dominate, importing 57,570 mt, up 6% and the highest since 2016. Export value for U.S. livers made impressive gains in 2019, climbing 13% year-over-year to just under $91 million. Exports to Egypt accounted for 74% of this total at $67.4 million, up 20%.