The ‘Pound Steak’ campaign, which was followed by a ‘My Pound Steak’ Instagram event for consumers, was funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program.
“The catchphrase ‘Pound Steak’ is all about US beef thick-cut steak, which is something we are really trying to establish as a consumer food trend in Japan,” said USMEF-Japan director Takemichi Yamashoji. “Typically, steaks in Japan are served at sizes from six to eight ounces. Our idea is to convince foodservice operators and restaurants to serve steaks that are 15 to 16 ounces, which is equal to one pound – thus the ‘pound steak’ campaign, a way to enjoy the taste and quality of US beef as thick-cut steak.”
For the campaign, USMEF developed special promotional materials for retailers, including stickers for packages in retail meat displays, recipe cards that offer instructions on how to prepare US beef pound steak and steak seasonings. Advertising banners were installed in several subway stations and other busy gathering points as part of the campaign.
To kick off the campaign, USMEF conducted a seminar for 60 foodservice buyers and restaurant owners. The seminar included an educational session on US beef and the pound steak concept, as well as a panel discussion to help participants get a better understanding of the product and the campaign.
Speaking at the seminar, USMEF CEO emeritus Philip Seng said: “US beef has been well-known among Japanese consumers and chilled exports to Japan increased more than 20% last year compared to 2016. With plans to maintain and even accelerate this growth, we developed the pound steak concept, one of many ideas we are working on to help grow global demand.”
The seminar also featured a tasting session, where USMEF served samples of US beef striploin, as well as chuck flap, tri-tip and boneless short ribs – items not usually served as steaks in Japan.
Following the seminar, a ‘My Pound Steak’ Instagram campaign encouraged users to post photos of US beef pound steak from their home dinner tables, with hashtags #americanbeef or #mypoundsteak.