The Caribbean market is a small but rapidly growing export market for U.S. pork. In 2017 alone, the volume of exports to the region increased by 15 percent compared to 2016. As the diets of consumers in these islands continue to shift towards one that is more animal protein-rich and tourism brings new consumers to the region, the National Pork Board (NPB) is expecting the demand for pork to only increase. To satisfy this desire for pork, many chefs are hungry to learn and experience new ways to prepare pork dishes.
Recently, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held the 25th annual Taste of the Caribbean. This event is the region’s premier culinary competition, food and beverage educational exchange and Caribbean cultural showcase. More than 200 chefs from 15 islands in the Caribbean learned about various pork marketing and cooking techniques that they can take back to their home restaurants. NPB Chef Jim Murray, who attend the event, spoke with Caribbean chefs and importers about the value of the pork loin on a menu, pork nomenclature, and end-point-cooking temperatures.
“The Chefs in the Caribbean and other Central and South American locales are eager to embrace contemporary American culinary techniques and dishes, said Murray. They also appreciate understanding the elements that are the foundation of American regional cuisines,”
Collaborating with Caribbean Chefs on creating new ways to cook pork provides NPB a unique opportunity to increase consumption of pork in both the local population on the islands and stimulate interest of visiting tourists. Working with chefs to ensure pork is prepared properly, providing options for using a variety of cuts and creating a positive eating experience, in turn, leads to a higher probability of consumers eating pork.
Murray also stressed the “excitement of the Chefs to see innovation in pork cuts and to learn how to prepare new dishes.” The chefs in attendance primarily represented the hospitality industry across the Caribbean islands. Traditional pork dishes have been established in most of these areas, but chefs are looking to infuse new American culinary inspiration into their menus. Creating an opportunity to showcase American culinary-inspired pork dishes and innovative new cuts, said Murray.
“The National Pork Board, has a tremendous opportunity to bring more pork innovation to a community of chefs that is ready to embrace our ‘Protein of Choice’” said Murray. “If NPB in conjunction with USMEF continues to offer a broad range of informational resources to Chefs on a global scale we will continue to grow our exports in these regions.”