Nearly 30 Walmart stores in Central America recently participated in a six-week U.S. Meat Export Federation promotion of U.S. beef cuts, resulting in a 70% sales growth.
The collaboration was focused in four countries in the region: Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In involved training Walmart personnel in recognizing U.S. beef breeds, grading, marbling, cold chain management, proper meat handling, and tips on cooking or grilling cuts.
The 10 cuts featured in the promotion were: short ribs, rib eye center cut, Delmonico, New York strip loin, outside skirt, culotte, inside skirt, T-bone, flap meat and sirloin.
"Grilling is an important summer family activity, and we developed this program to help Walmart staff teach their customers how to grill or prepare these new cuts in the kitchen," said Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF trade development director for Mexico and Central America. "The response from the Walmart staff has been spectacular."
Demonstrations, ease of purchase
In addition to promoting the products at the meat case, the stores also set up cooking demonstrations in or outside the store where a different cut was prepared hourly. The stores installed meat coolers and checkout stands at the outside demonstration sites so that motivated customers could easily purchase the products.
The results – a 70% increase in sales among a targeted higher-income audience – drew a favorable reaction from Walmart executives, USMEF said. Additional collaborations are expected.
"The promotions with USMEF brought new clients to our stores," said Rodrigo Cordero, Central America trade manager, meat division, for Walmart. "If we can help the consumer while increasing our sales by mixing sampling and education, the program is a success.
"This program helped educate shoppers so they will know how to use the cuts of beef after the promotion is over," Cordero added.
The demonstrations, which seated anywhere from 25 to 35 consumers at a time, covered everything from charcoal placement, fire safety and grill cleaning to the proper cooking temperature for rare, medium and well-done meat as well as preparation of meat for cooking.
According to USMEF, beef exports to Central and South America through the first half of 2013 are up 12% in volume and 11% in value to 19,327 metric tons valued at $70.9 million.