WI Beef Council leaders visit Costa Rica for product showcase

Wisconsin State Farmer
The delegation to San Jose's product showcase included Tammy Vaassen, Rosie Lisowe, Valerie Gaffney and Amy Radunz of the Wisconsin Beef Council.

Several leaders of the Wisconsin Beef Council visited San Jose, Costa Rica recently for the 10th annual Latin American Product Showcase.

The event, which connects US beef, pork and lamb exporters with buyers in the South and Central Americas and the Caribbean, is hosted by the US Meat Export Federation. Buyers and exporters met to discuss export deals for various beef cuts with the goal of increasing sales in Latin American regions. Groups also discussed sustainability and production practices of US beef farmers. They additionally toured a local Walmart and Auto Mercado, a grocery outlet in San Jose, to look at the beef cuts available.

The group toured a local Walmart where US beef was being promoted for both fresh and frozen cuts.

The Council has partnered with the event for more than seven years as part of efforts to increase sales in Latin America. Through Beef Checkoff program investments, WBC is able to fund marketing and education programs for potential buyers to show them the quality and value of US beef, as well as how various cuts can be compatible with the local diet and average budget.

"Our continued efforts in Central America are opening doors to grow exports of not only U.S. beef, but beef raised right here in Wisconsin. Having the opportunity to see our products in stores, meet with buyers and further network with other participants solidifies the value of investing our Beef Checkoff dollars into programs to increase exports,” said Valerie Gaffney, president of WBC.

A press release said Central America is a "promising" market to explore due to favorable tariff conditions. It also stated that the US represents only 4% of the world's population, and the country is estimated to account for only 7% of the exponentially-growing middle class of the world, which is becoming a hot consumer group for beef purchases.