Expanding customer outreach in what is already the largest volume market for U.S. pork, the U.S. Meat Export Federation recently kicked off a series of promotional activities in Mexico, including the launch of an “I Love U.S. Pork” campaign. Funded by the National Pork Board, the events will focus on new ways to prepare and serve U.S. pork dishes.
“I Love U.S. Pork” began in August and will run through December. The campaign includes a strong social media component, as well as traditional restaurant and in-store retail activities.
“We have brand ambassadors — chefs, bakers and bartenders — who have been trained on how to share information about the value and quality of U.S. red meat products. They will be promoting U.S. pork through their social media followers and at their businesses,” says Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF regional marketing director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic.
Other recent U.S. pork promotional activities in Mexico include:
‘Women at the Grill’
U.S. pork grilling workshops aimed at female consumers were conducted over two days in Monterrey and Torreon. With additional funding from the United Soybean Board, USMEF’s “Women at the Grill” event hosted 50 participants, who were divided into five groups to prepare U.S. pork at grilling stations.
“Participants were mostly consumers who shop and prepare food for their families, along with some social media influencers who created content for their online platforms about grilling U.S. pork,” says Leticia Flores, USMEF communications specialist.
Grilling workshop with Granjero Feliz
USMEF consultant Luis Pachuca conducted a U.S. pork grilling workshop in Guadalajara in partnership with Granjero Feliz, an importer of U.S. red meat, and the “Grilling Bastards,” a group of grilling enthusiasts who share cooking information through social media channels.
With additional funding from the USB, USMEF hosted 27 participants — mostly restaurant owners, retail meat shop owners and local distributors — to prepare and grill U.S. pork belly, St. Louis ribs and spare ribs.
“The idea is to put new dishes and new ideas in front of people and then have them share what they learned — spreading the word about U.S. pork,” says Rodriguez. “People in Mexico who have tasted U.S. pork really appreciate it and are eager to try new dishes. There are also people who have never tried it, and this promotion reached out to both groups.”
U.S. pork sales seminars in Cancun, Torreon
A U.S. pork sales seminar was conducted in Cancun for 30 representatives of companies that do business on the Yucatan Peninsula and in the Caribbean region. With additional funding from the Illinois Soybean Association, USMEF shared information about the attributes, characteristics and benefits of U.S. pork products.
The seminars presented participants with new ideas and methods to communicate useful information about U.S. pork to their current clients and prospective customers. A similar U.S. pork sales seminar was held for 25 representatives in Torreon, located in north-central Mexico.
Since Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork were removed in late-May, exports to Mexico have rebounded, but not yet to the record-large levels of 2017 and early 2018. With support from industry partners, USMEF is working aggressively to recapture lost U.S. share of Mexico’s imported pork market and restore pork consumption to pre-tariff levels.
Despite the recent recovery, January-August exports of U.S. pork and pork variety meat to Mexico were down 11% from a year ago in both volume (473,309 metric tons) and value ($821.8 million).