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USMEF VISITS COLOMBIA TO EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE CUT POSSIBILITIES

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representatives travel to Colombia next week to meet with importers, processors and retailers to gauge the viability of alternative cuts of U.S. pork and beef.

This is the second phase in a project to increase margins of variety meats, which are typically low-value commodities when sold in the United States. USMEF met with U.S. packers last April to identify alternative cuts that could have added value when packaged and sold to Central and South America.

“We visited packers to investigate the potential of targeting this market with cuts that may be left over after items are processed for other markets,” said Ricardo Vernazza-Paganini, USMEF director of Central and South America. “We are now ready to present this information to importers, processors and retailers in the market to explore the potential of these cuts.”

Vernazza-Paganini and Courtney Heller, USMEF export services manager, will spend a week meeting with meat industry representatives to share pictures, specifications and general information on all potential alternative cuts to identify which cuts could be successful.

Vernazza-Paganini said Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president, export services, is leading the project. Heller and Kevin Smith, USMEF assistant director, export services, have both taken a prominent role since they understand the alternative cuts and processing capabilities.

The team will visit domestic processing facilities to gather information on processing methods in efforts to formulate new ideas U.S. meat processors could use to create cuts for the region. Trips to retail stores are also planned to search out alternative cuts currently being sold in the market and bring back that information to U.S. packers.

“We are exploring the Colombian market to identify beef and pork cuts, processed products and trimmings that are typically underutilized in the United States, but highly marketable in Colombia,” said Heller.

Upon return to the United States, an analysis of the collected information will be conducted and possibilities regarding new product development will begin. After these steps have been taken, USMEF plans to organize seminars for U.S. packers as a way of sharing the findings and product ideas generated from the meetings.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

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