Beef Exports To Central America Gain Momentum

U.S. beef exports to Central America have gained momentum in recent months. It’s fueled in part by promotional activities funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.

Lucia Ruano, U.S. Meat Export Federation representative in Central America, recently updated cattle producers and other industry leaders on these activities. She cited BBQ Fest Costa Rica as a valuable annual event for the U.S. beef industry. This is because of the positive exposure generated with barbecue enthusiasts and other influencers.

“There were more than 5,500 people that attended this event,” she says. “This is an event that is supported by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, so it makes it international competition. And 24 teams participated in this competition, among them professionals, amateurs, or just people passionate for barbecue.”

Ruano also discussed a campaign in Honduras that combined bus stop billboard advertising with U.S. beef training workshops for key restaurant staff in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. The importer who partnered with USMEF on the campaign reported very strong sales of U.S. beef at its retail outlets during the promotional period.

“Along with promotion we also tried to do some education,” she says. “We did workshops and we trained staff from a restaurant and there was approximately 95 people that were trained during that period. This took place in the cities of San Pedro Sula, and Tegucigalpa and our importer reported 38% increase of sales during the period of this campaign.”

After a slow start to the year, beef exports to Costa Rica picked up this fall. It included a record volume (637 metric tons) in October. January-October exports to Honduras increased 17 percent from a year ago. Exports jumped 34 percent in value to $11.5 million.