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January 2, 2024
U.S. beef exports to Central America have gained momentum in recent months, fueled in part by promotional activities funded by the Beef Checkoff Program. Lucia Ruano, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in Central America, recently updated cattle producers and other industry leaders on these activities. She cited BBQ Fest Costa Rica as a valuable annual event for the U.S. beef industry because of the positive exposure generated with barbecue enthusiasts and other influencers.
“There were more than 5,500 people that attended this event,” Ruano reports. Supported by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, 24 teams participated in the international competition. Additionally, there were two spots on the main stage where chefs showcased the quality, benefits, and attributes of the beef cuts that were promoted at the event.
Ruano also discussed a campaign in Honduras that combined bus stop billboard advertising with U.S. beef training workshops for key restaurant staff in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. The cuts highlighted were outside skirt, coulotte and strip loin. Approximately 95 people were trained during the workshops. The importer who partnered with USMEF on the campaign reported a 38% increase in sales at its retail outlets during the promotional period.
After a slow start to 2023, USMEF says beef exports to Costa Rica picked up this fall, including a record volume (637 metric tons) in October. January-October exports to Honduras increased 17% from a year ago to 2,122 metric tons and jumped 34% in value to $11.5 million.
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