Mon, 05 Feb 2018
ROMANIA - USMEF continued its strategy of using education to develop potential beef markets in Europe by partnering with De Silva Exclusiv, one of the leading foodservice and retail distributors in Romania, for a US beef master class in Bucharest.
The class, focused mainly on alternative US beef cuts, was funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program.
More than 60 foodservice professionals from restaurants, hotels, catering companies and retail outlets participated in the class, which featured renowned chef Jay McCarthy sharing his experiences working with US beef.
"The main goal was to educate foodservice professionals from Bucharest and beyond about US beef and its attributes – tenderness, flavor and consistency," said Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in the region.
"It is important to engage chefs and teach them that the high quality of US beef is the result of hard work and persistence by American producers and others in the US beef supply chain.
"Another goal was to help distributors in Romania announce the availability of US beef in the market and provide restaurant owners important contacts for further purchases."
Since Romanian consumers have relatively modest incomes compared to many other European countries, USMEF stressed the availability of alternative US beef cuts such as chuck, brisket and sirloin.
"Another reason for focusing on alternative cuts was to find good sales channels for these underutilized items in Europe," said Mr Barutkin.
"Since each of the 28 markets in the European Union (EU) have their own specific preferences, it is a matter of learning about each market and identifying those that will welcome alternative beef cuts."
Ana Maria Florescu, a buyer with De Silva Exclusiv, said she heard a great deal of positive feedback from clients who attended the US beef master class.
"Many customers in the class are interested in alternative US beef cuts, along with the premium cuts they are already using," said Ms Florescu.
"They told us the master class was very educational and they were able to learn a variety of applications for the alternative cuts, as well as the cost advantages.
"We are eager to continue expanding our knowledge about additional alternative cuts in the near future."
Mr Barutkin pointed out that duty-free quota utilization in the EU currently makes its very difficult for foodservice professionals to incorporate US beef in their business plans.
"While the US industry can guarantee consistent quality, it cannot ensure consistent supply because of the quota situation," he said.
"But USMEF will continue to support efforts in these lesser-known European markets to increase US beef’s share in Europe.
"In our view, these newer markets present a wealth of opportunities for growth. While not as well-developed as Germany, Italy, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom, countries in eastern, southern and central Europe, as well as some Scandinavian markets, offer excellent growth potential."