South Korean Bloggers Exposed to International Cuisine
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Since 17 South Korean food bloggers were treated to a four-part international cuisine experience in 2011, their positive reports on the use of U.S. beef have reached between 240,000 and 1.2 million Korean blog readers.
The innovative blogger outreach program developed by the beef checkoff contractor, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)-Korea, concluded with a special December activity. The initiative involved engaging with eight bloggers who focus on beef to expose them to creative uses of U.S. red meat in a wide variety of applications.
“Bloggers create great word-of-mouth messaging among consumers in Korea,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “This is a highly valued mode of communication as consumers trust the opinion of their peers when making buying decisions. These bloggers, who each reach anywhere from 2,000 readers to more than 10,000 readers per day, are an effective way to build a positive image of U.S. beef.”
One blogger said: “I thought U.S. beef might not be delicious or safe before I actually tried it. Now I changed my view. It’s fresh and delicious.”
The Diverse Cuisines activity was an intensive program that required each blogger to complete four missions and then write about each step in the process.
“Diverse Cuisines Made with U.S. Meat” was the theme of the USMEF-Korea program in 2011 that not only had bloggers cook with U.S. beef , but also brought them to restaurants featuring the products, had them create their own recipes and offer samples through their blogs. The year-end program was the third activity developed specifically for bloggers, with each delivering progressively larger results.
The first step was the launching of the experimental blogger group, which included a cooking class. In the second step, the “taste hunters” visited a restaurant that served U.S. beef. The third mission involved cooking with the products at home, recreating recipes that were presented at the cooking class. The final mission was for each blogger to conduct a free U.S. beef sampling event through their blog. The checkoff supported the sampling with U.S. beef chuck eye roll.
The program generated broad coverage by the 17 bloggers and the network of other bloggers who follow them. The participating bloggers posted a collective 120 stories about the events, with many picked up by additional influential bloggers. At the lowest estimated blog readership level, the program reached in excess of 240,000 Korean consumers and may have topped 1.2 million.
U.S. beef exports to Korea through the first 10 months of 2011 reached 286.2 million pounds valued at $574.9 million, increases of 43 percent in volume at 36 percent in value versus 2010.
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The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.