For busy consumers in Hong Kong, enjoying a beef hot-pot is a great way to warm up on a winter day. Thanks to funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), more hot-pot dishes served this winter are featuring U.S. beef.
USMEF is collaborating with Café De Coral, Hong Kong’s largest fast food chain, for an “American Beef Hot-pot” promotion in its 140 locations. Bolstered by a strong advertising campaign and cooler-than-normal temperatures, the promotion has succeeded in increasing consumer demand. The dishes have proven so popular that Café De Coral ordered more U.S. short plate just to keep pace with consumer demand.
Also launching hot-pot promotions this winter were Maxim’s the Caterer and Fairwood, Hong Kong’s second-largest and third-largest fast food chains with more than 60 outlets each. USMEF has a working relationship with both chains, as they are major users of U.S. chuck flap and short plate.
Tao Heung, which is Hong Kong’s leading Chinese restaurant chain, well-known for its inexpensive chicken dishes, has also launched a special offer for hot-pot lovers featuring U.S. beef short plate. This promotion has been very popular with Tao Heung’s price-savvy clientele.
“Beef hot-pot is a traditional cold weather comfort food for people in Hong Kong,” said John Lam, USMEF-Hong Kong’s regional operations manager. “The popularity of these dishes is widespread, and the large volumes sold in these promotions show that U.S. beef can capture a mass market.”
Despite being limited to boneless muscle cuts from cattle less than 30 months of age, U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong continue to reach new heights. With December results still to be tabulated, 2012 exports have already easily eclipsed the volume and value records set in 2011. Exports through November totaled 56,418 metric tons (124.4 million pounds) valued at $295.8 million – an increase of 20 percent in volume and 36 percent in value over the previous year’s record pace. Hong Kong’s imports of chilled U.S. beef (through November, 1,591 mt – or 3.5 million pounds – valued at $25.9 million) also set new records in 2012, growing by 20 percent in volume and nearly 30 percent in value over the 2011 pace. The United States now holds more than 30 percent of Hong Kong’s chilled beef market.
“Hong Kong is a fiercely competitive market, but U.S. beef performs very well here,” Lam said. “If we can gain access for a wider range of products, there are even more opportunities that the U.S. industry can capitalize on in a big way.”