Introducing and promoting cuts of U.S. pork, beef and lamb to a diverse set of consumers, USMEF partnered with a supermarket chain in the Philippines to host the inaugural “American Meat Fest.” The four-day event, organized with Iloilo Supermart, featured cooking demonstrations and tastings of U.S. pork, beef and lamb. Funding was provided by the USDA Market Access Program, the Pork Checkoff and the Beef Checkoff Program
Iloilo Supermart, the largest supermarket chain in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, operates seven locations. It is an important retailer for promoting U.S. meat, because it attracts shoppers with varied tastes and demands, explained Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the ASEAN region. The retailer is named for the province of Iloilo and its capital city of the same name. With a population of nearly 1 million, the Iloilo metropolitan area is the economic hub of the Western Visayas region.
“Iloilo Supermart is one of the most patronized establishments in Iloilo because it not only sells local brands and products, it also offers imported goods such as dried, processed and frozen meats,” said Yin. “They were the Örst to sell U.S. beef in the Iloilo City retail sector and they have a reputation for providing affordable, high-quality products. They work closely with several importers in Manila, one of which is Alternatives Food Corporation, a carrier of brands like St. Helen, Snake River Farm, Excel and Niman Ranch.”
At the American Meat Fest, USMEF arranged for well-known chef Sidney Uy, owner of Frontgate Diner & Pub, to serve as guest chef at two Supermart events. The Örst, at Iloilo Atrium, the anchor store for the chain, featured a mobile kitchen set up at the main entrance to the supermarket. A sampling of U.S. beef sausages were given to the consumers and meat displays containing U.S. red meat were placed so consumers could examine the products. Uy presented a cooking demonstration featuring recipes using U.S. beef hanging tender and short plate, U.S. pork loin and Boston butt, and U.S. lamb riblets and breast.
A second, similar event was held at Iloilo Supermart’s newest store, located in Tagbak.
“At both events, Chef Uy was able to catch the attention of the consumers by sharing ways to create recipes, even for Filipino dishes, using different cuts of U.S. red meats,” said Yin. “Overall, the promotion received positive feedback both from the supermarket management and especially from consumers. Our goal was to create awareness for the different cuts of U.S. meats, and it’s clear we were successful.”