While exports represent the fastest-growing market for U.S. meat products, the global arena presents unique challenges for small companies with brand-name products. Global consumers have a growing appetite for U.S. products, but they're increasingly being courted heavily.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation branded products promotion program was established in 1987 to help U.S. companies enter international markets with brand-name products. The program offers matching funds to help companies minimize risk while maximizing their global marketing reach.

USMEF's mission is to develop U.S. meat export markets by building the image of U.S. products. With representatives in 18 locations, it conducts market-development activities in more than 80 nations. USMEF is a valuable resource for small companies needing assistance with international market intelligence and country-specific promotional strategies.

Numerous companies have participated in the program and have successfully promoted products around the world. John Volpi & Co., in St. Louis, Mo., for example, re-invigorated its existing marketing program.

“We participated in the USMEF program for several years and it strengthened our trading partnerships with distributors in Japan, and helped us establish new ones,” says Bill Holland, vice president, John Volpi & Co.

“As a small company specializing in fine Italian-style meat products, we had hit a sales plateau with Japan. The USMEF program in effect, doubled our marketing budget and assisted with promotions. We secured several new large retail customers,” explains Holland, “We could not have achieved what we did without the help of USMEF.”

Jones Dairy Farm, Fort Atkinson, Wis., participated in the program to enhance and expand existing marketing efforts and accelerate promotional activities in Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Bermuda for their products, which include farm-fresh sausage, bacon and ham. “The USMEF program allowed us to do more promotional activities, such as advertising, and significantly increased our ability to interact with Japanese consumers,” says Philip Jones, president, Jones Dairy Farm.

To participate in USMEF’s branded products promotion program, eligible companies must have 500 or fewer employees, or be a producer cooperative or association. 

Following are examples of activities that may be eligible for reimbursement under the USMEF branded products promotion program:

  • Advertising: Newspaper, magazine, television, billboards (advertising is generally limited to trade advertising or advertising used to support specific local promotions)
    creative, design, printing, production costs.
  • Merchandising: Production/creation of point-of-sale materials (menus, tent cards) to be used in connection with the promotional activity. Also for: educational materials, promotional kits, cooking demonstrations, promotion manuals.
  • Public Relations/Seminars: Costs of seminars including interpreter, seminar materials, set-up costs/room rental, slides and educational materials; press kits; and supporting advertising for promotions.
  • Trade Fairs and Exhibits: Booth rental and construction; displays, decorations, materials, interpreters, set-up costs, shipment of samples or other program materials.

Promotions funded under this program must be conducted between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005. Applications will be accepted as long as funds are available.

Applying for funding is easy. For more program details, including participation fees and program guidelines, contact:

Barbara Watson
U.S. Meat Export Federation
1050 17th St., Suite 2200
Denver, CO  80265
Telephone:  (303) 623-MEAT
Fax:  (303) 623-0297
E-mail:  bwatson@usmef.org