October 24, 2003



US Meat Export Federation's Partnership with Guangzhou's Restaurant Promotes Regular Beef Cuts in China


South China's foodservice industry is expanding rapidly and its upscale hotels and restaurants are demanding increasing supplies of consistently high-quality beef.


Using funds from the USDA Quality Samples Program (QSP), the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in partnership with a Guangzhou-based meat importer and distributor recently tested the feasibility of producing consistently-sized portion-control U.S. beef cuts to meet the demands of the market. Due to quality and standard cuts, buyers can rely on them to produce regular sales and a consistent profit. The importer/distributor offers these U.S. beef cuts to western-style restaurants, a rapidly expanding segment of South China's foodservice industry.


Through this initiative and other trade and education-related activities, USMEF is leading the development of the portion-control beef market in Southern China. QSP funding allowed USMEF and its partner to sponsor samples of U.S. beef products packaged as trial portion-control beef items for hotels and restaurants.


USMEF enlisted a leading Guangzhou restaurant to promote the portion-control U.S. beef products developed with the importer. By displaying the new products in a chiller prominently located at the entrance of the restaurant, the fresh, safe and enticing appearance of the product attracted more customers to buy U.S beef. USMEF is confident other restaurants will follow the lead set by this trend-setting restaurant and increase demand of U.S. beef.


The importer/distributor now has more than 40 accounts for its portion-control U.S. strip loins, rib eyes, bone-in ribeyes, bone-in short ribs, boneless short ribs, and T-bones. USMEF offered $2,600 in bone-in short ribs, strip loins, ribeyes, T-bones, and top blade muscle for the product development.


Although China is the fourth largest producer of beef in the world, domestic beef production grew 6% in 1999, 7% in 2000, and another 9% in 2001. Farmers raise cattle to utilize excess crop residues from grain operations and very little grain-fed, intensive cattle production occurs. The domestic industry as yet is still unable to provide the high-quality beef which is in increasing demand by China's tourist industry and urban consumers.


China (including Hong Kong) was the fifth largest export market for U.S. beef (including variety meat) in 2002, when the U.S. sold the Asian giant 39,788 metric tons.
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