|Anton Mata (second from left) instructs meat cutters from Wal-Mart's Mexico operations on the proper technique of harvesting beef value cuts.
Beef value cuts, derived from cuts that for decades had been used only for ground beef, have recently gained popularity in the United States in both the foodservice and retail sectors. In an effort to extend the profile of beef value cuts beyond the domestic market, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the Texas Beef Council teamed up last week to promote the quality and affordability of these items to Wal-Mart directors and employees in Mexico.
Led by Anton Mata, a noted meat scientist who has a long history with beef value cuts, the seminars were conducted in Monterrey at the Culinary Institute in Nuevo Leon and in Mexico City at Centro Culinario Ambrosia.
"The Wal-Mart audience was very, very engaged,” Mata said. "This was their first exposure to beef value cuts, and they are hungry for knowledge and information. So I was very pleased with how engaged they were – a very receptive audience.”
Some of the cuts demonstrated will be included in Wal-Mart's "cut-of-the-month” promotions at 12 Wal-Mart Supercenter stores in Monterrey and 16 Supercenter stores in Mexico City during November.Wal-Mart is developing a yield analysis to determine which of the beef value cuts to feature in these promotions
Wal-Mart's desire to expand its high-quality meat offerings in Mexico was one of the factors that drove USMEF and the Texas Beef Council to make the beef value cuts seminars a funding priority. In Mexico, Wal-Mart's meat cases currently contain about 20% U.S. product. But this ratio could increase if more high-quality cuts can be made available at prices that appeal to Mexican consumers.
Mexico is currently the largest foreign market for U.S. beef and beef variety meats, importing 240,820 metric tons (531 million pounds) between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year, at a value of just under $825 million. July exports to Mexico totaled 40,930 metric tons (90.2 million pounds) valued at nearly $147 million – breaking the all-time record for beef exports to Mexico in a single month.
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