With increased retail and online meat shopping in Hong Kong, USMEF has partnered with an imported meat wholesaler and key opinion leader (KOL) to increase the visibility of American red meat, promote sales of a wider range of cuts to end users and provide promotional support to catering partners.
“The pandemic has accelerated the demand for high-quality protein and online content about food, meat handling and preparation,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for Asia-Pacific. . Instead of working with general gourmet KOLs, funding from the Texas Beef Council’s Beef Checkoff Program and support from the USDA’s Market Access Program and Agricultural Trade Promotion Program were used to partner to a local meat wholesaler with a strong social network among the Hong Kong trade. Costs were lower with this trade-focused approach, says Haggard, “and arguably resulted in better long-term returns due to the adoption of many of our KOL’s recommendations by other institutional meat users. “.
Known as Meat Dee to his Facebook and YouTube followers, Dee Liu is the son of a former wet market operator who helped expand the family business into wholesale imported meat. USMEF has worked with Meat Dee on several educational videos focused on simple at-home preparation of alternative cuts such as the Hanging Tender. (See the video featuring a local Italian chef joining Meat Dee in cooking hanging tenders.)
“By providing this educational content to commerce through Meat Dee, sales of a broader range of American red meat cuts were realized in both foodservice and retail channels,” says Haggard.
As the tentative restaurant resumption began in early 2021, USMEF also partnered with Meat Dee on a series of short YouTube videos featuring visits to Hong Kong restaurants where American red meats were featured as dishes. in the center of the plate. Culinary styles ranged from pet-friendly American-themed restaurants to iconic traditional local steakhouses to Korean hot pot and barbecue establishments.
Aimed at consumers, the 2021 videos focused on locally owned and operated restaurants rather than international chains. Each video lasts about 10 minutes and the filming was done “live”, without rehearsals. Two of the videos, for example, were about cooking recommendations for American Berkshire pork.
“The content isn’t restaurant reviews per se, but stories about America’s top red meat dishes that make each restaurant standout or successful,” says Haggard.
A total of 16 videos were produced in 2021, attracting up to 30,000 views. Restaurant owners covered in the series particularly appreciated the promotional effort given the challenges they faced in 2020 and 2021, adds Haggard.