craig morris vice president international marketing
Craig Morris, Vice President of International Marketing

By Craig Morris, Ph.D., Vice President, International Marketing

When the 22nd World Meat Congress kicks off on May 30, there will be no mistake which protein is in the spotlight – pork. Thanks to a proactive effort between the National Pork Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)—and a substantial investment of your Checkoff dollars—this year’s historic event will be an enviable U.S. “porkapolooza.”

Held biennially, the World Meat Congress (WMC) is the world’s premier gathering of beef, pork, lamb and veal industry leaders—including producers, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists—coming together to exchange ideas and experiences on key issues affecting global trade. This year’s WMC will be the first held in the United States in over 20 years.

Prominent industry export contacts from around the globe will be flying in to attend this years’ event and when they arrive, jet-lagged and road weary—but ready to network and trade ideas—they will be feasting on the best the pork industry has to offer: our superior pork products prepared in creative and innovative ways.

At the opening reception and the pork-themed lunch, the versatility and quality of U.S. pork will be highlighted. The Pork Checkoff staff, led by Stephen Gerike, assistant vice president of food chain marketing, collaborated with USMEF staff and chefs from the Sheraton Dallas to create unique pork menu items.

The opening reception will feature an Asian Pork Dumpling, or pot sticker—drawing inspiration from our international marketing efforts in the burgeoning Asian market. That will be paired with a fried pork skin, drawing inspiration from a southern delicacy (yum!) in the states.

That yin and yang—U.S. meets global flavors theme—continues throughout the World Meat Conference. Nothing will be more spectacular than the pork-themed luncheon, which will exclusively feature U.S. pork. The Checkoff staff worked diligently to create the perfect menu, which includes:

  • Ham Sliders on Buttermilk Biscuits with Pimento Cheese
  • Orecchiette Pasta with Pork Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
  • Parmesan Crusted Pork Loin Chops with Garlic White Beans
  • Char Sui Pork Shoulder over Crispy Fried Rice

Each of these recipes is diverse—taking inspiration from a distinct region and culinary style either here or abroad. More critically, each of these recipes features a different cut of pork and highlight how that cut can be transformed and marketed in a unique and innovative way—increasing consumption of U.S. pork around the world.

We’ll also be preparing a recipe book loaded right into the conference app for all attendees—so they can replicate the deliciousness in their home kitchens and fondly recall this event. But more than all that, our International Marketing Committee uses these meal times to make lasting connections—building relationships with influencers in foreign markets where we’re seeking to export more of our products.

I’ve always thought that the best business conversations happen over a good meal and a full stomach—and I have no doubt that these culinary delights will jumpstart some amazing conversations—and be the invisible thread to lasting bonds between our Committee members and key stakeholders in attendance.