US targets foodservice sector to boost exports

US beef bosses are targeting the UK foodservice sector in a bid to boost sales of their meat.

The Nebraska Beef Council, in partnership with the US Meat Export Federation, is focusing on new and different cuts as part of a campaign to boost exports to the UK.

The organisations held a tasting session for corn-fed, hormone-free US beef in London last week, with renowned American chef Jay McCarthy giving cooking demonstrations on the various cuts.

With the introduction of a Non-Hormone Treated Cattle programme, US producers are now able to export to the EU market, and Nebraskan producers are keen to capitalise on the situation, said Knud Aagaard-Svendsen, trade specialist for exporter MetaFoods, representing the Greater Omaha Packing Company.

"The programme is very regimented and you have to have the birth of every animal recorded and everything fully audited. We have three slaughterhouses approved for export to the EU," Aagaard-Svendsen said.

At the moment, only small amounts are being exported to the UK, with some of the 1,739t exported to the EU being shipped into the UK market. However, Aagaard-Svendsen said the volumes are growing and puts it down to the unique flavour and high quality of the corn-fed beef.

The campaign is focusing on the premium area of the foodservice market due to the cost of the beef.

"Chefs are always looking for something different, things like the knuckle or rump, which can be used to create great and flavoursome steaks."

He said the flat-iron steak, from the beef shoulder top blade, was becoming very popular in the US, and they were hoping it will catch on in the UK market.

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