February 23, 2021


USMEF aims to expand retail presence of US pork, beef in Colombia with training initiative



The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is looking to expand the retail presence of US pork and beef in Colombia as demand is expected to recover this year following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Columbia is a country where way more than 50% of the shopping - probably 75% - is done in wet markets and the traditional sorts of markets," said USMEF Colombia representative Don Mason. "Some of our importers are looking at ways of adding points of sale in areas usually where the traditional markets are. Several importers have told me about their willingness to highlight US product."


He noted that the United States had to be careful in the past about not going head-to-head with Columbian pork producers, but recently, importers are much more willing to highlight US product.


To capitalise on the opportunity, USMEF has launched a new education and training initiative for Colombian butcher shop owners and their employees. The efforts are funded through the USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program.


USMEF is putting a person in place who will look at the technical and product management side of their businesses. It will entail an audit that looks at cold chain, food safety, work floor logistics and the technical aspects of meat cuts - especially US meat cuts. From there, a technical training programme will be developed so staff at these points of sale are prepared to do the job of selling US meat in the right way.


Additionally, USMEF will be doing a marketing and publicity audit, working with their digital marketing efforts.


"I think we could see a substantial increase in the amount of product they move," Mason added.


Last year, US pork exports to Colombia totaled 67,000 tonnes valued at US$147 million – down about one-third from 2019.


Beef export volume also dropped by nearly one-third to 4,553 tonnes, valued at just under US$20 million (down 22%).


- National Hog Farmer

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