U.S. processed pork earned considerable attention from foodservice managers across Asia at the Seoul Cafe Show, an annual food and beverage exhibition in South Korea that attracted more than 170,000 visitors from 80 countries. With funding from the USDA Market Access Program and the National Pork Board, U.S. Meat Export Federation displayed items such as U.S. pulled pork, salami and prosciutto and handed out tasting samples of U.S. ham, bacon and pork sausages.
Jihae Yang, USMEF director in South Korea, says Seoul Cafe is an excellent opportunity to share U.S. pork's versatility and value with a variety of customers – from large-scale foodservice operations to small cafe and bakery chains.
"We focused on items that offer time and cost savings, such as fully-cooked products and sliced meats that are a good fit for bakery and cafe menus, where proteins can simply be warmed up and put on a plate," says Yang, adding that processed pork items packaged for the retail sector also were promoted at the show. "We received a lot of interest from businesses looking for protein snacks and pre-cooked meat. Online retailers visited the USMEF booth to ask about suppliers of U.S. processed pork. A lot of consumers come to this show as well, so it was a great opportunity to increase consumer awareness of U.S. pork."
Yang said the shelf life of U.S. processed pork items piqued the interest of many in the foodservice industry.
"USMEF shared a lot of important information about the things that set U.S. pork apart from competitors, including the fact that some U.S. sliced hams, for example, have a shelf life of 120 days," says Yang. "For the cafes and coffee shops that are looking for items that add value to their menus, shelf life is a big selling point."
USMEF conducted social media events and contests throughout the show, resulting in more than 3,000 photos of U.S. pork being posted and shared using social media hashtags like, #Americanpork, #Cafemenu and #2019seoulcafeshow.