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USMEF-China Builds Referral Network for U.S. Pork

Published: Jun 16, 2014

Chinese chefs try different recipes utilizing U.S. pork

The network of ambassadors for U.S. pork in China expanded recently as USMEF and international corporate giant Unilever collaborated on a training session for several dozen Chinese chefs in Chengdu that included American pork as a main attraction.

The worldwide customers for Unilever’s food products include more than 100,000 food service accounts in China, where Unilever conducts more than 600 training seminars each year. By collaborating with Unilever’s food service staff, USMEF was able to familiarize 23 chefs with the quality and value of U.S. pork so that they will recommend it in conjunction with Unilever products.

“Unilever has an extensive reach throughout China’s food service sector, ranging from Western steak houses to those serving traditional Chinese hot pot cuisine,” said Ming Liang, USMEF-Shanghai marketing director. “For us to provide them with a cutting and cooking demonstration to showcase U.S. pork and how well it fits with Unilever’s food service and retail ingredients business was a great opportunity.”

With financial support provided by the Iowa Soybean Association and U.S. pork distributor Jiasu, Unilever chefs utilized four U.S. pork cuts: bone-in butt, boneless butt, spareribs and bone-in loin. Staff from Jiasu discussed the attributes of U.S. pork to help the chefs better understand how the qualities of the product would be beneficial to their business and provide appeal to their customers.

“This was a classic win-win situation,” said Liang. “U.S. pork is the perfect foundation for many Unilever products. And Jiasu representatives were in position to speak with the chefs in attendance to answer their questions about prices and delivery. With chefs representing large-volume food vendors, ranging from restaurants to hotels to schools, the potential opportunities from a session like this are enormous.”

Through the first four months of 2014, U.S. pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region are 4 percent ahead of 2013 levels in volume and 10 percent in value, reaching 140,927 metric tons (310.7 million pounds) valued at $316.5 million, making it the No. 3 export market for U.S. pork.