Building Taste for U.S. Beef in Ukraine
The 2017 “American Barbecue Fest,” in Truskavets, Ukraine, saw the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), sub-contractor to the Beef Checkoff, promote several cuts of U.S. beef. Funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program, this year’s annual event preceded a series of U.S. beef retail campaigns in Ukrainian cities. These promotions were funded by the Texas Beef Council.
American Barbecue Fest, held at the Mirotel Wellness Center, attracted foodies from all across Eastern Europe and offered a variety of American-style dishes featuring U.S. beef as the centerpiece.
U.S. beef is regularly served on the buffet at this popular resort as well as on the menu of the attached Bellini restaurant.
“This venue definitely attracts USMEF’s target audience – consumers with a high level of purchasing power who arrive not only from across Ukraine but also from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and other countries for vacations and long weekends,” said Galina Kochubeeva, USMEF representative in the region. “The goal for USMEF is to introduce the taste of U.S. beef to the people who attend American Barbecue Fest or visit the Wellness Center with the expectation that they will return home and begin purchasing U.S. beef on their own for family dinners and special occasions.”
Texas-style chuck and brisket with classic barbecue sauces were created for American Barbecue Fest by the Wellness Center’s chef.
“We combined tastings with useful facts about the U.S. red meat industry and American barbecue traditions,” said Kochubeeva. “There were culinary competitions and quizzes, U.S. beef banners and placards, menu inserts, and several other items on display to help guests gain an understanding of U.S. beef and allow them to learn more about buying U.S. beef products.”
USMEF teamed with Metro Cash & Carry Ukraine to conduct U.S. beef tastings at four of the chain’s most successful outlets – two in Odessa, a port city and tourist center, and one each in Dnipro and Chernivtsi, two large industrial cities.
Chefs in the region who are already working with U.S. chilled beef were invited to grill U.S. beef steaks for tastings held outside the Metro Cash & Carry outlets. Educational materials on U.S. beef and recommendations for handling and cooking U.S. beef cuts were distributed to customers who visited the promotional stands.
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 may 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.