USMEF recently joined forces with a number of U.S. agricultural industries and the Agricultural Trade Office in Vladivostok, Russia, for a “Taste of America” event demonstrating the quality and diversity of U.S. farm products. USMEF’s participation was supported by the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
The event attracted more than 60 representatives of far eastern Russia’s restaurants, cafes, hotels and taverns, as well as local food importers. Chef Erwin Peters of the El Gaucho Paveletskaya steakhouse in Moscow shared his positive experiences with U.S. beef in his restaurant. He also demonstrated creative cooking methods for U.S. beef chuck roll, flank steak, top blade and short ribs.
Silvia Curran, the U.S. consul general in Vladivostok, and Deanna Ayala, ATO director at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, greeted attendees and made a strong pitch for U.S. food products. Other industry organizations participating included USA Pears, the Washington Apple Commission, the Almond Board of California and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council.
“Vladivostok is a very important economic hub for eastern Russia, with a vibrant hospitality industry,” said Galina Kochubeeva, USMEF-Moscow manager. “It’s a region that holds significant promise for U.S. beef.”
Seven time zones and nearly 6,000 miles to the west, St. Petersburg was the venue for a very different “Taste of America” event. Throughout April, USMEF teamed with Land Supermarkets – a chain of six upscale retail outlets in the St. Petersburg metropolitan area – for Taste of America Days. The project was initiated by the Agricultural Trade Office in St. Petersburg with USMEF’s participation receiving support from the Beef Checkoff Program and MAP.
The main objective behind the promotion was to help local distributors of U.S. beef launch new products in the retail sector, including U.S. ribeyes. Future promotions may also include alternative beef value cuts.
Highlighting these promotional events was a series of culinary master classes conducted by chef Maksim Shalavin of St. Petersburg’s prestigious Stroganoff Steak House. The classes were well-attended and well-received by Land Supermarket customers, who had the opportunity to view new cooking techniques and creative recipes and sample the finished beef entrees.
“It’s a bit early to project how much impact this initial promotion will have on U.S. beef sales,” said USMEF-St. Petersburg manager Yuri Barutkin. “But we are very excited to see so much enthusiasm for U.S. beef in new retail outlets.”
Russia stands out as a red-hot market for U.S. beef in 2012. Through April, year-over-year beef exports (including variety meat) were up 20 percent in volume to 24,024 metric tons (52.9 million pounds) and surged 92 percent in value to $100.5 million.