Background Banner

U.S. Lamb, Pork, Beef Seminars Held in Trinidad

Published: Oct 19, 2011
In partnership with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), USMEF recently conducted a series of seminars on the Caribbean island of Trinidad showcasing U.S. lamb, pork and beef. The seminars, which were supported by the Beef, Pork and Lamb Checkoff programs and the local Foreign Agriculture Service office, and sponsored by USMEF members Giroski Agro, Smithfield International, Buckhead Beef and Superior Farms, capitalized on a growing relationship between USMEF and influential leaders of the retail and foodservice sectors in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Earlier this year, we brought a trade team to Texas and Oklahoma that included leaders from the Supermarkets Association of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Elizabeth Wunderlich, USMEF Caribbean representative. “That visit really laid the groundwork for getting more fresh U.S. meat into Trinidad and Tobago. And our first seminar in Trinidad – which was aimed specifically at the retail sector - really built on that momentum.”

Wunderlich conducted the beef and pork seminar with USMEF retail consultant Dave Ferrelli, focusing on effective methods of merchandising underutilized cuts and the competitive advantage supermarkets can derive from a high-quality fresh meat program.

“That seminar was jam-packed, with a standing-room-only crowd that spilled into the aisles and the hallway,” Wunderlich said. “And the follow-up discussions after the seminar were very positive, including meetings with a supermarket chain that wanted to convert all of its stores to a fresh meat program. Some other chains were there who have been gradually converting to fresh or considering a conversion to fresh – and this really sealed the deal for them.”

The next two days consisted of lamb, pork and beef seminars directed at chefs and other foodservice professionals from Trinidad’s hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector. Tina Roberts, associate vice president for marketing and culinary development for Superior Farms Lamb, highlighted the quality and versatility of U.S. lamb, which has gained strong momentum in recent years in the Caribbean market. Wunderlich followed by showcasing a wide range of menu options for U.S. pork and beef, including innovative uses of the pork butt and alternative beef cuts from the shoulder clod. USDEC complemented the series of meat seminars with a session showcasing U.S. cheeses.

“The HRI seminars generated a lot of enthusiasm among the participants, and some very positive feedback,” Wunderlich said. “We were able to show them some innovative techniques that will really work well with the local cuisine and helped them add some quality and depth to their menus.”

The program proved so popular that it resulted in an additional “mini-seminar” for students of the local hotel and culinary academy.

“We held a ‘mini’ version of the seminars we had conducted over the previous three days,” Wunderlich said. “It was a great opportunity to reach out to the next generation of chefs in Trinidad, and the material we covered was very much appreciated.”

Trinidad and Tobago has recently emerged as a leading market for U.S. lamb. Through August, exports were up 14 percent over last year to 101 metric tons (222,667 pounds), with value nearly tripling to $269,000.

Trinidad and Tobago is a Top 20 market for U.S. pork so far this year. Through August, U.S. pork exports (including variety meat) are steady with last year in volume at 2,825 metric tons (6.23 million pounds) and up 5 percent in value to $6.4 million. U.S. beef exports totaled 1,152 metric tons (2.54 million pounds) valued at nearly $3.9 million – increases of 14 percent and 23 percent, respectively.