Randy Spronk, Edgerton, Minn., hog producer, participates in a market tour during the 2016 Latin American Meat Showcase. The tour was held at the Pretelt Gourmet Meats, a high-end butcher shop and restaurant in Panama City that features U.S. meat products. National Pork Board
Randy Spronk, Edgerton, Minn., hog producer, participates in a market tour during the 2016 Latin American Meat Showcase. The tour was held at the Pretelt Gourmet Meats, a high-end butcher shop and restaurant in Panama City that features U.S. meat products.

Minnesota pig farmers to attend Latin American Product Showcase

Event will showcase benefits of U.S. pork important to Latin American export markets.

Minnesota pig farmers Randy Spronk and John Schwartz will travel to the Dominican Republic to attend the 2018 Latin American Product Showcase this week. The two farmers will participate in a market tour, marketing sessions and networking activities designed to highlight U.S. pork to importers in the rapidly growing Latin American export market.

“The Pork Checkoff has worked hard to promote pork globally, with the assistance of USMEF,” says Randy Spronk, a pig farmer from Edgerton, Minn. “This showcase is a great example of that effort, and I’m excited to learn about the many opportunities that U.S. pork will have in this market in the future and see our investment at work firsthand.”

This will be the eighth annual showcase held by the U.S. Meat Export Federation and is expected to be the largest to date with roughly 60 exporting companies and 200 meat buyers from across Central America, South America and the Caribbean in attendance. This event provides U.S. exporters and farmers with an opportunity to visit one-on-one with numerous potential buyers in a single location.

A vital part of the showcase is a market tour where the farmers will visit Mercado de Los Mina, a small food market; Pricesmart Store San Isidro, a store similar to a U.S. grocery store; and Supermarket Store La Sirena San Isidro, a store similar to a U.S. supermarket or big box store.

“As a farmer, it will be beneficial to see the similarities and differences in the retail space here in the Dominican Republic compared to our grocery options in the United States,” says John Schwartz, a pig farmer from Sleepy Eye, Minn. “I hope to walk away with a better understanding of how pork is being marketed directly to consumers, by retailers, so that we can better supply these customers with the type of products that they want.”

The farmers also will learn about the buying habits of millennials in Latin America and discuss strategies for meat marketing, including price expectations, specific cut opportunities and future menu trends during educational sessions.

Pork Checkoff staff also will attend the Showcase. Craig Morris, vice president of international marketing for the National Pork Board, will join Spronk and Schwartz in the Dominican Republic for the week. 

“Our NPB International Marketing Committee has highlighted the Latin American market as one of paramount importance for our marketing efforts,” Morris says. “Attending the Latin American Product Showcase is an incredible opportunity to see how we can continue to invest and hone our strategy in this region. I’m excited to hear from our farmers in attendance and get their thoughts on what we are doing well, with an eye on the future.”

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