November 9, 2006
US variety meats gain popularity in Egypt, USMEF
Beef livers and kidneys may not be consumed in the US but have long been popular in the Middle Eastern markets, particularly Egypt.
Following the resumption of US beef by Egypt in March last year, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has been considering ways to promote US beef liver and kidneys among Egyptians.
In one such effort, the USMEF carried out a merchandising campaign last month with support from wholesale merchandisers and restaurant owners to encourage Egyptians to try their products.
Point-of-sale posters and displays along with US beef recipes helped attract customer attention to the US beef product. The USMEF focused on popular wet markets and major wholesalers who purchased beef livers from importers and distributed them to smaller wholesale outlets.
As part of the campaign, restaurants were offered a complimentary supply of US beef livers to shed inhibitions about the product.
USMEF's effort seemed to have yielded fruitful results as sales of US beef livers increased dramatically following their promotion. It also helped customers differentiate US beef livers from that of other competitors.
Popular hotels have started featuring the product in their list of menu.
Other major developments for USMEF include Egypt's changed stand on shelf-life requirements for hearts and kidneys from four to seven months, removing the requirement that the product had to reach the country with 50 percent of its shelf-life remaining and that it had to be shipped within two months of production.
The developments came following an 18-month research project by USMEF and the Colorado State University which determined there were harmless amounts of protein degradation, lipid oxidation and overall rancidity of frozen storage of livers, hearts and kidneys stored up to 320 days or almost 10 months.
An Egyptian catering company imported between 10 to 15 tonnes of US beef kidneys when the shelf life period was four months, said its managing director. The company increased its imports to 100 tonnes per month, with the revised shelf-life requirement.
US beef and beef variety meat exports to Egypt totalled 48,671 tonnes, exceeding the 2003 year-end totals of 30,915 tonnes.