Since becoming one of the first Asian countries to resume U.S. beef imports last February, consumers in Vietnam have been enjoying high quality U.S. beef. The strong interest in the U.S. product was clear at the U.S. Meat Export Federation exhibit during a recent premier foodservice trade show in Ho Chi Minh City.
USMEF showcased an expanded range of U.S. beef products at the second annual Food & Hotel Vietnam show. Foodservice trade show visitors from Vietnam and neighboring countries had the opportunity to see and taste several U.S. beef cuts prepared in front of their eyes by USMEF Chef and Foodservice Consultant Sabrina Yin using a variety of cooking methods.
"Our exhibit was bigger this year, and we have a wider product range of U.S. beef on hand," says USMEF Director, ASEAN Eric Choon. "We participated in this year's show on a larger scale than last year to ride the momentum of the trade's interest in U.S. beef products."
Importers, retailers and restaurant owners were excited about the return of U.S. beef and the potential growth additional U.S. beef cuts provide. They see residents of Ho Chi Minh City accustomed to fine U.S. foods with a growing appetite to consume more.
"Visitors at the show were very interested in U.S. beef since it is well-known for superior quality and appealing taste," Choon says. "Many retailers and restaurant chefs we talked with were dissatisfied with the quality of beef from Argentina and the high price of beef from Australia."
USMEF provided materials on U.S. beef safety, cooking methods and competitive advantages to visitors at the show to consider when starting the U.S. beef import process or when briefing chefs on new, appealing ways to prepare U.S. beef for Vietnamese consumers and tourists.
The three-day Food & Hotel Vietnam show provided a central place for more than 8,000 food and hospitality businesses to make contacts with the fast-rising food retail and tourism sectors in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City is home to a large network of markets and supermarkets that are prime locations to showcase U.S. beef. More modern, well-located marketplaces will be built in line with the city's urban zoning plan.
Thanks to its location at the center of the southern region, the city has also enjoyed a strong growth in tourism, bringing visitors to the city who are accustomed to eating U.S. beef and look forward to ordering it at hotels and restaurants.
Vietnam banned U.S. beef in December 2003 when the United States had its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, but resumed U.S. beef imports last February after evaluating the stringent protocols the United States has in place to ensure its beef is safe. Through October of this year, U.S. beef and beef variety meat has experienced steady growth in Vietnam with an export volume of 2,331 metric tons valued at $5.2 million.