An influential group of 5,000 nutritionists gathered for informational sessions recently in Seoul for the Korean Dietetic Association’s Food & Kitchen Equipment Exhibition. U.S. beef was there for the sampling as USMEF-Korea met with many of the nutritionists to brief them on products some were unfamiliar with.
USMEF surveys of 1,500 Korean nutritionists showed that perceptions of American beef are overall positive, and most of those surveyed said that they would buy the products for their personal use. Funding for the initiative was provided through the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program.
“This is an important and influential audience,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “While Korean government policy currently requires that domestic beef be purchased for schools, many of these nutritionists work for private companies and hospitals and play a key role in purchasing decisions.”
This was the first time USMEF has participated in the Korean Dietetic Association’s annual program since U.S. beef was barred from the market after the 2003 BSE finding in the United States. Learning that the majority of the participants held positive opinions regarding American beef was an important outcome.
“This was a good opportunity to introduce U.S. beef to many of these nutritionists after a long absence,” said Yang. “With the information we gathered through our survey and one-on-one meetings, we can better target our nutritional information and educational activities going forward.”
South Korea is a key market for U.S. beef exports. Through the first eight months of 2012, Korea has purchased 84,406 metric tons (186 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $388.8 million. It is the No. 4 market for U.S. beef exports when measured by value.