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Frequently Asked Questions

The Drive In Five is a video series that gives you a round-up on how your Beef Checkoff dollars are being used to drive beef demand. In this episode, see how beef exports have positively left a lasting impact and how U.S. beef is utilized worldwide.


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. beef exports greatly exceeded previous volume and value records in 2021, surpassing $10 billion for the first time, according to year-end data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Part of U.S. beef’s export success in 2021 can be attributed to growth in beef variety meat exports. Beef Checkoff dollars supported this growth, helping USMEF further promote value cuts and variety meats to end-user customers and consumers. Below are a few examples of USMEF’s work in international markets.

Alternative Cut Training in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — USMEF Mexico Executive Chef German Navarrete traveled to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to host master classes on U.S. beef preparation for restaurateurs, distributors and social media influencers. To demonstrate how the appeal of U.S. beef extends beyond middle meats, Navarrete promoted the nutrition, versatility and affordability of top blade, hangar steak and flank steak for use in ethnic cuisines.

Differentiating U.S. Beef in Colombian Butcher Shops — Audits are the first step in a new training program intended to help importers’ butcher shops sell more high-quality U.S. beef. A primary sales channel for imported beef is through importer-owned butcher shops, which USMEF has targeted for technical and marketing support. “Our market assessments show a wide disparity in how meat is handled, merchandised and sold at retail, especially in butcher shops,” says Don Mason, USMEF representative in Colombia. Training programs developed for butcher shops will improve food safety, product management and merchandising to increase U.S. beef sales.

Social Media Raises U.S. Beef Visibility in Hong Kong — With the surge in retail and online meat purchases in Hong Kong in mind, USMEF partnered with imported meat wholesaler and key opinion leader Meat Dee to raise the U.S. beef’s visibility, promote sales of a wider range of cuts to end users and provide foodservice partners with promotional support. “The pandemic accelerated demand for high-quality protein and online content about food, meat handling and preparation,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. “In providing this educational content to the trade through Meat Dee, sales of a wider range of U.S. beef cuts have been realized in both foodservice and retail channels.”

Workshops Promote Toy Donations and U.S. Beef Recipes in Mexico — In December, USMEF utilized its mobile grill and kitchen to introduce seasonal U.S. beef recipes and collect donated toys for vulnerable families in Mexico. The recipe and donation workshops were carried out with social media influencers, local media outlets and charitable organizations in Queretaro, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Beijing Chefs Learn New Cuts and Applications — USMEF partnered with an importer/distributor in Northern China to introduce U.S. beef cuts and new cooking concepts from Southern China to its foodservice customers. Cuts that are excellent for grilling in yakiniku and Korean barbecue restaurants – flank, tri-tip, bone-in short ribs and rib finger – were demonstrated and prepared for sampling and a new concept dinner. “We are always working to expand the range of U.S. cuts. The event served as a brainstorming session for menu development, and the 40 chefs and restaurant owners expressed strong interest in the new cuts and new ideas,” said Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China.

U.S. Beef Variety Meat Exports Set New Monthly Value Record — A notable bright spot in 2021 has been the rebound in beef variety meat exports, with broad-based demand in a wider range of destinations. USMEF has introduced global consumers to local, ethnic dishes featuring U.S. beef variety meat items through promotions such as “Taco Tuesdays” in Mexico. U.S. beef variety meat exports set a new monthly value record in November at $116 million and topped $1 billion for the first time in 2021. Mexico is the top volume destination and Japan leads in value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, aims to keep beef top of mind and on the plates of international consumers through Checkoff-funded programs. These programs are executed in different global markets – like Africa. In 2020, U.S. beef exports to Africa increased 25 percent, totaling $22.1 million. Due in part to successful Checkoff efforts, here’s how the beef market is booming in Africa.

Beef variety meats account for the bulk of beef exports to the region. South Africa specifically is the second-largest export destination for U.S. beef livers and was the largest buyer of U.S. beef kidneys in 2018 and 2019. USMEF’s regional representative in South Africa, Matt Copeland, joined the USMEF team in October 2019 and quickly hit the ground running with new efforts and initiatives.

He and USMEF are working in targeted markets in the region to build awareness and develop demand for specific products, and introduce buyers to beef’s quality attributes.

Through regional economic development, demand for higher-quality protein from the retail and hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sectors is expected to grow. Presently, USMEF’s market development focus is on South Africa, but the organization is actively assessing and developing opportunities in Mozambique, Swaziland, Angola, Ghana, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Morocco.

“There is tremendous upside for high-quality, grain-fed U.S. beef,” Copeland says.

Africa provides an inexpensive backgrounding environment for cattle, but feed inputs and production practices are focused on reducing costs. As a result, the end-product is very lean compared with highly marbled muscle cuts from the U.S. “Consumers have had very little exposure to high-quality beef,” he adds.

To deliver the high-quality protein consumers want, Copeland is working aggressively to expand the number of importers and distributors in the region who purchase U.S. beef. Also, Copeland is executing efforts to introduce beef to the retail and HRI sectors in South Africa. One of these efforts was a brochure outlining the quality attributes of beef liver in the Zulu language, and it was translated into French for use in Morocco. USMEF also plans to print the brochure in the Xhosa language as well.

To continue reaching importers and distributors in this emerging market, Copeland is building a digital library of major importers and producing promotional videos that encourage these importers to purchase beef. Another development tactic is the use of a concept kitchen in South Africa for cooking and tasting sessions. The kitchen allows Copeland to demonstrate the quality attributes of beef and directly introduce importers and distributors to retailers.

USMEF is executing efforts in South Africa to increase awareness and introduce beef to consumers in the retail sector. To support retailers during the pandemic, USMEF provided branded hand sanitizers on behalf of the U.S. beef industry to 60 stores, spreading positive beef messaging to potential beef customers. Also, USMEF conducted retail promotions and executed advertising on delivery trucks in Johannesburg.

One thing is for sure – the pandemic has accelerated the implementation of digital solutions around the world. Like Africa, new channels are appearing for beef in emerging markets, and USMEF’s global, in-person infrastructure will continue identifying and assessing these opportunities to drive demand for beef.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prime rib, ribeye, brisket and tenderloin – all popular, high-value beef cuts Americans naturally reach for. But what about those cuts that don’t fit into the typical taste preferences of consumers in the U.S. – what happens to them?

There’s very minimal demand for beef variety meats like tongue, lips, liver, heart, kidney, stomach and intestine here in the U.S. Still, across the world, international consumers are eager to get their hands on these U.S. beef products – and they’re willing to pay a premium for them.

Receiving Top Dollar

To get those premium prices, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, creates and shares innovative ways to serve and eat U.S. variety meats, then markets those meats to the proper audiences across the world. Because of their efforts, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of edible beef variety meat.

USMEF works to capitalize on international taste preferences and add value back per head for the U.S. producer. For example, beef tripe, the lining of a cow’s stomach, while not particularly popular in the U.S., is commonly used to flavor soups like Menudo in Mexico. U.S. tripe exports to Mexico equated to $4.28 per head of fed cattle slaughter in 2019 and reached more than $111.7 million in revenue. This was up 30 percent from 2018 1.

In Japan, the dominant destination for U.S. beef tongue, a major beef bowl restaurant chain, Yoshinoya, recently launched its first-ever dish featuring U.S. beef tongue at a price of about $8. Growing demand for this product in Japan contributed to 2019 exports of U.S. beef tongue, equating to $12.20 per head of fed slaughter2.

USMEF also works to expand these products into a wider range of markets. In recent years, U.S. beef liver exports have become more diversified. Egypt has long been the leading destination for U.S. beef livers, but liver exports have relied less on Egypt as demand for the product in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia has grown. USMEF executes campaigns that help elevate the growing popularity of this product in these markets.

For example, in Peru, USMEF launched an initiative to promote the benefits of U.S. beef liver in helping combat anemia. This project included medical students greeting consumers in butcher shops and supermarkets to share information about healthy eating habits and how consuming beef liver increases iron intake. The motivation for this campaign came from a Peruvian Health Ministry report that revealed anemia cases in Peru have risen in recent years due to iron-deficient diets, with the country’s national anemia rate in children at a startling 47 percent. This campaign was a massive success. Arisa, a distributor that deals mostly with wet markets in Lima, Peru, experienced a 23 percent increase in U.S. beef liver sales during the promotion. Grupesac, a retailer with two outlets where U.S. beef liver accounts for 60 percent of total sales, saw a 22 percent increase3. This campaign is just one example of how USMEF is boosting U.S. beef liver consumption in international markets.

All of these specialized campaigns, like the U.S. beef liver campaign in Peru, are funded by the Beef Checkoff and executed by USMEF staff members worldwide. At USMEF’s 16 international offices, local staff, who live their day-to-day lives in these specific countries, are already integrated into the national culture and help strategize and execute campaigns that fit their country’s needs and preferences. By understanding the language, food preferences and shopping habits, these local team members allow a “boots-on-the-ground” approach. This helps USMEF be relevant and efficient when marketing U.S. variety meats to global consumers.

Adding Value Back to Producers

These efforts to promote U.S. variety meats ultimately do contribute to producer success here at home. The Beef Checkoff meets the desires of consumers across the world by providing them with the beef cuts and products they most want to purchase. In turn, global competition for these cuts contributes to producers getting the best prices possible and boosts demand for cattle. In 2019, U.S. variety meat exports contributed to more than 27 pounds per head of fed slaughter. This resulted in a per-fed-head value of $37.27 4.

With strong, effective programs and other efforts in place to grow worldwide U.S. variety meat demand, the Beef Checkoff is contributing to the advancement and strength of the industry, both here and abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff, strives to maximize market access, grow demand and increase U.S. beef value across the world. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of USMEF offices had to adapt their initial tactics and strategies to fit the new international marketplace. Despite the coronavirus situation, USMEF is continuing to encourage beef sales in key export markets and emphasize U.S. beef integrity.

Here are just a few of their recent efforts:

1. American Beef Fair Promotions in Japan

Retail promotions for U.S. beef in Japan were extremely popular over the summer. The “American Beef Fair” promotions, which featured various cuts of U.S. beef, took place at six retail chains. More than 400 outlets participated in the regional promotion, which included newspaper advertising and tasting demonstrations.

2. “U.S. Meat Connect” App in Mexico

With many businesses closing or reducing their operations, it has been difficult for distributors, restaurants, retailers and consumers to know what products are available. To help buyers and consumers in Mexico find and purchase U.S. beef, USMEF developed an app that facilitates the process. The “U.S. Meat Connect” app has been promoted on social media and YouTube, with influencers also encouraging consumers to download and use it.

3. Instagram Live Cooking Demos in the Middle East

USMEF recruited one of the region’s top social media culinary personalities, Chef Maroun Chedid, to perform live U.S. beef cooking demonstrations on Instagram in June. The live broadcasts highlighted the attributes of U.S. beef to Chef Chedid’s broad online audience of 265,000. Chef Chedid starred on Top Chef Middle East and owns the Maroun Chedid Cooking Academy in Lebanon. During his Instagram Live, he explained the quality and advantages of U.S. beef cuts such as tenderloin, chuck and brisket. He also shared his experiences cooking with alternative cuts of U.S. beef, emphasizing how their quality and versatility can potentially enhance profits in the region’s growing foodservice sector.

4. Product Samplings in South Korea

Product samplings for U.S. beef gained traction in June in and around Seoul. Seven retail chains with 76 outlets conducted in-store promotions with product samplings for U.S. beef. Sales recordings of U.S. beef in Korea had already experienced an 18 percent sales increase from January to through May.

5. Steakhouse Program in Peru

Two steakhouses with 12 outlets featured U.S. beef for Father’s Day in and around Lima. USMEF provided take-out and delivery program support as both steakhouse chains were attempting to restart their restaurant operations after being shut down by the pandemic.

6. Training for E-Commerce Companies in China

To raise the profile of U.S. beef and increase how often it is shared and recommended online, USMEF conducted on-site staff training for two popular e-commerce companies in Shanghai. USMEF highlighted a variety of U.S. beef cuts, offered a host of cooking applications, storage tips and defrosting techniques. The training also illustrated the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef and emphasized the advantages of U.S. beef over competitor products.

7. Beef Promotions in Bulgaria

Portion-controlled cuts of U.S. beef were promoted in 29 Metro outlets in Bulgaria. Metro is one of the largest hypermarket chains in Europe. From January to June 2020, more than six metric tons of U.S. beef has been exported to the European Union.

8. Delivery Support Program in the Philippines

USMEF hosted a promotion for U.S. beef in June with a target account distributor in Manila. This delivery fee support program contributed toward the delivery fee for consumers who purchased any combination of U.S. red meat products.

9. “Go U.S. Beef” in Taiwan

U.S. beef “On the Go” was a five-week retail promotion for U.S. beef in May. This was part of the “Go U.S. Beef” campaign, which took place at Keeper’s outlet, a retail location, as well as their online platform. Tasting events with U.S. beef were also held on mobile carts at six different neighborhood locations during the promotional period. Events featuring interactive tools encouraged additional engagement on social media.

10.  “Bringing Hope” Kits in the Dominican Republic

USMEF worked to provide direct support to foodservice workers with “Bringing Hope” kits. Many foodservice workers were without work when restaurants shut down during the pandemic. These care packages included U.S. beef, rice, pasta, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, butter, cheese and bread. A total of 300 “Bringing Hope” kits were distributed to employees of 51 restaurants and six hotels in Santo Domingo during May and June.

Even with the coronavirus situation varying from country to country, USMEF reports show a sustained demand for U.S. beef despite the economic slowdowns. Markets around the world have a strong desire to purchase U.S. beef cuts and variety meats. Exporting these products helps boost demand for cattle and, ultimately, cattle prices. The Beef Checkoff will continue to support these efforts and increase demand for U.S. beef in international markets.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Beef Checkoff is dedicated to improving global consumer demand and building trust in U.S. beef around the world. Why is this such a focus for the checkoff? The numbers tell the story.

The checkoff works with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to market U.S. beef in global markets. Eighty percent of global buying power is located outside the U.S., and 95 percent of the world’s population lives elsewhere. That’s why once global trade is opened in a particular country, the checkoff implements marketing tactics in those countries to improve profitability for beef producers. And, recent events have shown a positive industry outlook for the future.

Multiple factors are currently affecting how the U.S. performs in the global protein marketplace. To help producers understand the big picture and how exports affect their beef operations, CattleFax, a global leader in beef industry research and analysis, presented their predictions for the beef industry in 2020 at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

In 2019, multiple trade deals were signed, giving the U.S. potential to improve exports substantially over the next several years. One example is the “Phase One” trade deal between the U.S. and China. Chinese beef demand is increasing, and with African Swine Fever continuing to affect global protein markets, the resulting pork shortage, coupled with the Chinese trade deal, will boost U.S. beef exports to that area of the world. In fact, China has committed to increasing U.S. agricultural purchases by 12.5 billion and 19.5 billion over the next two years compared to a 2017 baseline of 22.5 billion 1.

The Japan–U.S. bilateral trade agreement was also completed, decreasing tariffs on U.S. beef from 38.5 percent to just 9 percent 2. In 2019, Japan accounted for the largest share of beef exports at 26.4 percent. USMEF projects that by 2025, U.S. beef exports to Japan will approach roughly 2.8 billion3. Due to these agreements, U.S. beef exports for 2020 are expected to increase 5 percent to 3.2 billion pounds 4. Another factor changing the marketplace is Australia’s plight with drought and wildfires. The country’s anticipated decrease in production there will allow the U.S. to surpass Australia as the third largest beef exporting country.

These trade agreements create multiple opportunities for U.S. beef to have a front row seat in a shifting and growing global protein marketplace. The Beef Checkoff is dedicated to promoting U.S. beef overseas and supporting beef to meet demand, wherever in the world it is most desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Costco Meat Case in KoreaInvesting dollars toward foreign market development is one of the most significant ways the Beef Checkoff drives demand for beef. Competition is fierce on the global stage, and the checkoff works diligently to persuade foreign countries that U.S. beef is their best choice. As a result of the checkoff’s efforts, more consumers around the world want the high-quality products U.S. cattlemen and women produce.

That’s why beef producers understand the importance of using checkoff dollars to promote U.S. beef in foreign countries. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff that carries out this mission. From attending international food events and conducting training sessions to working with retailers and encouraging restaurants to feature U.S. beef, the USMEF’s hands-on efforts put U.S. beef on more dinner plates around the world.

Korea has now become one of the leading U.S. beef markets in the Pacific, less than a decade following street protests opposing the reopening of the market. In 2018, beef exports to Korea increased 30 percent year-over-year in volume and jumped 43 percent in value, increasing from $526 million in 2017 to $1.75 billion in 20181. A big factor contributing to this gain was Costco officially converting its imported chilled beef selection from Australian to 100-percent-U.S. beef. This multi-year effort by USMEF to persuade Costco store managers to carry U.S. beef has resulted in a wider selection of U.S. beef cuts available to consumers.

USMEF DiamondTo continue increasing the visibility of U.S. beef, USMEF has established the Diamond Plus Precious Gourmet Selection awards. These awards encourage Taiwanese restaurants to serve and promote U.S. beef. According to Davis Wu, USMEF director in Taiwan, Diamond Plus Precious honors restaurants that demonstrate “the spirit of dependable and faithful partners who support U.S. beef products and promise to provide high-quality U.S. beef cuisine to Taiwanese consumers.” The USMEF first presented these awards in 2018 and will continue to honor deserving restaurants – choosing 20 each year. By creating an incentive for Taiwanese restaurants to feature high-quality U.S. beef, the Diamond Plus Precious awards are helping U.S. beef establish a stronger foothold in that country, while also providing consumers clear and accessible ways to learn about the best restaurants offering these products.

USMEF Diamond CeremonyIn Japan, USMEF has been conducting a series of training sessions for cooking instructors. The goal is to show these educators the variety of ways to cook and serve U.S. beef, so they can then introduce these creative methods to their students. Rika Yukimasa, a well-known cooking instructor in Japan, has helped USMEF in the campaign, providing cooking tips and sharing information about U.S. beef’s quality attributes with fellow instructors. Tapping into U.S. beef’s superior quality and versatility is an impactful way to spur interest in the product. One training session, during which the USMEF explained the U.S. beef production system, drew thousands of participant applications of which 50 were selected.

When it comes to directly connecting with the Japanese consumer, USMEF’s Tokyo office has launched a social media campaign to promote U.S. beef while also encouraging consumer participation. USMEF’s Instagram, a photo-based social media platform, has been calling on consumers to share their experiences with U.S. beef at home and at restaurants. Individuals who share photos of U.S. beef “pound steak” are eligible for prizes. The pound steak campaign was followed by a “My Pound Steak” Instagram event to further encourage photo sharing of this great product. This social media effort is bringing U.S. beef to a platform where consumers are most active.

Japan pound steak“The number of active Instagram users now exceeds 29 million in Japan – up 150% from a year ago,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF director in Japan. “Realizing the popularity of social media and how consumers are using it to make decisions on what to eat, USMEF will keep focusing on these kinds of activities to more widely and effectively convey information on U.S. beef.”

The superior quality of U.S. beef has no bounds. The checkoff’s goal has always been to drive demand for beef. With programs like these in place, the checkoff is introducing high-quality beef to consumers who may never have enjoyed it before but will now continue to request it from their grocers and restaurants. Visibility is key, and U.S. beef producers recognize that investing dollars in these efforts is necessary to maintain and drive demand, so prices can remain strong even during more challenging times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beefshi was front and center in New York City’s Times Square this past March as the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, introduced the Big Apple to the new items created for the 2019 campaign. Beefshi is a creative, new fusion-food concept that uses prepared beef products like bologna, summer sausage, corned beef and pastrami as central ingredients in sushi.

The theme of the Times Square promotion was “Your Sushi is getting Beefed Up!” Giant, colorful images of Beefshi and a link to towered above Times Square for all to see.

“Americans have always loved beef, and over the past few decades, their love of sushi has catapulted,” said Eric Mittenthal, vice president of public affairs at NAMI. “In fact, sushi is one of the fastest-growing categories in supermarket deli departments. Therefore, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate National Deli Meat Month than focusing on the marriage of beef and sushi.”

Last year, during the retail-focused Annual Meat Conference, hundreds of retailers sampled three Beefshi recipes, and 55 completed a short survey that captured their reactions. Overall, 95 percent of those who tried the Beefshi creations liked them – while half of the retailers said they would make sense at the supermarket.

Working with multiple state beef councils and a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, NAMI has developed eight new Beefshi recipes – adding to eight recipes created in 2018. These recipes are intended to introduce the concept and inspire consumers, retailers and foodservice operators to develop their own Beefshi creations.

By finding new and creative ways to market beef, the checkoff is helping drive demand every day. Learn more about Beefshi – including recipes, how-to videos and nutrition facts – at