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Pork and Blues Bring Smiles to Chinese Consumers

Published: Apr 01, 2014

More than 30 members of the Chinese media turned out last week for U.S. pork sliders and to hear about a special American BBQ and Blues Week event planned for mid-April in Shanghai and Suzhou. The announcement was made jointly by the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai and the USMEF-Shanghai office, with funding support provided by the Pork Checkoff.

Authentic Texas barbecue pork and live blues performances headlined by Joey Gilmore, 2006 winner of the International BLUES Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., will be the attraction at Shanghai’s Stubb’s restaurant and the theme will be continued at the Suzhou Crown Plaza.

Keith Schneller, director of the Shanghai ATO office, made the media announcement while USMEF representative Jina Gao provided the reporters with U.S. pork sliders and information on U.S. pork.

“American BBQ and Blues Week is a good opportunity to present an American lifestyle – barbecue and Blues music — that will attract more people to try and enjoy U.S. pork,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF Asia-Pacific.

In a separate event designed to raise the brand awareness of U.S. pork, USMEF conducted pork sampling on several weekends in March at Freshmart in L’Avenue Shopping Mall in Shanghai in conjunction with several Chinese holiday celebrations that drew large numbers of shoppers to the mall.

A local Chinese distributor shared costs for the event with the Pork Checkoff to promote four U.S. pork cuts: bone-in butt, CT butt, boneless pork loin and brisket bones.

“The aroma of the freshly cooked samples drew a sizeable crowd,” said Haggard. “Our goal is to let consumers sample the product to understand its quality, and to emphasize that it is U.S. pork in order to foster brand awareness.”

In 2013, the China/Hong Kong region was the third-largest market for U.S. pork exports, purchasing 417,306 metric tons valued at $903.4 million.