Convenience foods are projected to be a $47.5 billion niche market in 2012, and the beef checkoff is trying to capture more of the international market for these products and help sustain the pace of U.S. beef export growth.
Representatives of the checkoff's Beef Innovations Group met with foreign marketing program representatives from the Caribbean, European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South America and South Korea recently to taste and learn how to prepare new beef convenience foods, ranging from appetizers to roasts. The goal was to determine where there may be expansion opportunities for U.S. beef products in some of these key markets.
The team first sampled three new beef appetizer items under development by the checkoff: a Cheeseburger Bite, Tamale Stix and a spicy Santa Fe Beef Plank. They also had the chance to prepare several stovetop items, including skillet steaks and Italian and Mexican steak thins.
These trends tend to follow in Asia about two to three years behind the U.S., and while steak is not currently a typical part of the Korean diet, the ability to cook one in minutes could help win converts in a culture that values convenience.
The situation is different in the Caribbean, where the steamy weather tends to keep people from cooking with a hot oven.
The beef convenience items are in development and will be introduced during the next several months, after which expansion opportunities for these U.S. beef products will be sought in some of the key international markets.
Click here for more information about checkoff-funded new product development.