U.S. Beef Showcased throughout Northern Europe
With duty-free access creating more opportunities for high-quality U.S. beef in the European Union, USMEF recently conducted a series of promotional events in major northern European markets featuring well-known celebrity chefs. Funded through support from the Beef Checkoff Program, these events were designed to raise the profile of U.S. beef among key buyers — importers, distributors and foodservice professionals.The first stop was a lunchtime promotional event at the Mash Steakhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, renowned as one of the city’s finest restaurants. Guests included distributors of U.S. beef, media representatives and some of Mash Steakhouse’s most loyal customers. The event began with celebrity chef Jay McCarthy focusing on the quality, consistency and value of U.S. beef and all aspects of the production system. This included an explanation of U.S. feeding practices, the USDA grading system and specific requirements for the EU market – such as the certification program for non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC). A cutting demonstration afforded guests the opportunity to taste a variety of cuts, which were greeted with great enthusiasm and received very positive feedback. USMEF also hosted a beef tasting event at the Süllberg Hotel and Restaurant in Hamburg, Germany. The hotel is situated in Blankenese, a select and beautiful area of the city overlooking the scenic “Gateway to the World” harbor. This made for an elegant setting for more than 150 guests, hosted by USMEF in cooperation with wholesaler-caterer Handelshof-Gruppe Köln and importer TMT-Taurus. Renowned local chef Karlheinz Hauser presented the menu for the evening, explaining the positive attributes and versatility offered by U.S. beef and explaining in detail the steps used to prepare and present several delicious cuts. “It is clear that the German market is growing more and more receptive to U.S. beef,” said John Brook, USMEF regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East. “It has grown steadily over the last four years, and this trend continues to gain strength. One of the reasons for this is the consistent effort made in educating people about the superior marbling offered by U.S. beef. German consumers seem very receptive to this message.” USMEF joined Swedish distributor Gourmet Food for a Sunday luncheon at the Josefina restaurant in Djurgarden, one of the many scenic islands that form the Stockholm archipelago. “This was a fantastic event focused on the advantages of using American beef,” said Christian Dyjée, Gourmet Foods marketing Manager. “The objective was to allow our existing customers, as well as potential new clients, to discover the whole animal. American beef allows us to get more creative with different cuts, compared to what we are used to here in Sweden. We are creating a market not only for the U.S. striploin or tenderloin, but for the whole carcass.” In addition to these successful promotional events, USMEF-Europe is currently developing a series of 20 short videos explaining the attributes of U.S. beef. The videos will be uploaded to the Internet, where they will be used for marketing purposes. One of these videos was shot in the headquarters of Rungis Express in Meckenheim, Germany, a supplier of high-quality meat, poultry, fish and vegetables to retailers, hotels and wholesalers. Rungis Express kindly welcomed chef McCarthy and the film crew into its kitchen, which made an excellent setting for these promotional videos. USMEF also held a cutting and tasting demonstration for the Rungis Express staff, including the very sales personnel who will be promoting U.S. beef products to the company’s top clientele. By the end of June – which also marks the end of the quota year – USMEF expects the 20,000 metric ton, duty-free quota of high-quality beef for the European Union to be nearly filled. Efforts continue to expand the quota to 45,000 metric tons, which would allow for further growth opportunities for U.S. beef in this exceptionally high-value market.