The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has added a new tool for its promotional efforts. German Navarrete, the USMEF corporate chef based in Mexico, recently developed a U.S. meat cutting demonstration utilizing virtual reality technology that uses 360-degree video images representing various meat cuts. With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, the USMEF virtual seminar was developed prior to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, but it has even more potential for use now that single-venue training seminars are so difficult to conduct, USMEF said.
“One of the main objectives of my job is to train people as to how to best utilize U.S. beef, pork, lamb and veal products,” Navarrete said. “I do so by giving seminars, trainings, cutting and cooking demonstrations as well as coming up with new recipes to promote the wonderful assets and versatility of U.S. meat.”
Originally, he would purchase a primal piece and cut it into the different cuts during a demonstration. With the new virtual reality technology, attendees can cut the meat themselves, providing the confidence they need to cut meat in person.
More than 80 importers and chefs in Mexico recently attended a USMEF workshop that introduced the technology as an innovative tool to train chefs, butchers, meat cutters and sales personnel.
“The goal was to show our partners in Mexico’s hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector the practical uses for virtual reality training and how realistic and interactive the tool is while at the same time promoting the advantages of U.S. beef,” said Elena Gonzalez, USMEF HRI manager in Mexico.
She continued, “The system allows the session leader to offer real-life scenarios related to meat cutting. Also, we can record the trainings and adapt them to reach bigger and broader audiences.”