As U.S. beef makes its way back to Taiwan stores and restaurants, the U.S. Meat Export Federation has several activities planned to ensure its return is a welcome one.
Shipments of U.S. beef started arriving in Taiwan last Friday. They are the first since June, when Taiwan banned U.S. beef after the announcement of a second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States.
U.S. beef products will be available in retail markets this week, and a survey by the Department of Health in Taiwan indicates 65% of consumers will buy U.S. beef. Carrefour, operating 37 outlets in Taiwan, will conduct a media event to reintroduce U.S. beef to customers.
"This week is an important one as we will see consumer reaction to U.S. beef returning to retail markets," USMEF Director, Taiwan Davis Wu says. "U.S. beef is sought after for its taste and tenderness. We also believe consumers are confident in its high quality."
USMEF enhances consumer excitement with a United Steak promotion, giving U.S. beef consumers a chance to win prizes. Consumers who buy U.S. beef at Carrefour stores between Feb. 20 and March 5 can use the entry form affixed to U.S. beef packages to enter a prize drawing that takes place March 10.
Many wholesale stores, steakhouses and hot pot restaurants in Taiwan have reported increased inquiries from customers who favor the special flavors of U.S. beef. USMEF will introduce trendy steakhouses and restaurants featuring U.S. beef to the media, attracting consumers to restaurants where they can enjoy delicious meals prepared with U.S. beef.
Taiwan initially banned U.S. beef in December 2003 after the United States discovered its first case of BSE. At that time, Taiwan was in the list of top 10 export markets for U.S. beef and beef variety meat with 19,225 metric tons (mt) valued at $76.5 million going to Taiwan.
Taiwan reopened to U.S. beef last April, but shut down again in late June. During the market-open time, U.S. beef and beef variety meat to Taiwan totaled 7,764 mt valued at $4.2 million. Taiwan again accepts boneless U.S. beef product from cattle under 30 months of age processed in plants approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To help U.S. beef gain traction in Taiwan, USMEF is reinstating an education program for restaurants and retail stores to help employees answer consumer questions regarding U.S. beef with correct and current information.
USMEF also is relaunching its broadcast advertisement campaign, encouraging consumers to purchase U.S. beef now that it is back in the marketplace. The campaign was successful during the first market reopening as it lured consumers to restaurants and stores featuring U.S. beef.