The USA Cheese booth at the Espacio Food and Service Show gave U.S. dairy companies a place to meet with current and potential customers.

From owners and employees to veterinarians and lenders, many people contribute to the success of a dairy farm. Likewise, building demand for and selling dairy products requires a broad team of marketers, demonstrators, and connection creators.

When the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) held a trade mission in Chile last fall, the farmer delegation witnessed the many building blocks of developing international dairy demand when they visited what USDA calls the second most important food service trade show in Latin America. Here, they saw the presence USDA, its Foreign Agriculture Service, and USDEC have to help connect U.S. dairy companies with people around the world who want to buy their products.

The Espacio Food and Service Show featured dozens of booths of food suppliers, processors, and technology companies from throughout the country and the world. Large stages held cooking demonstrations and classes on healthy food and sustainable agriculture. “Let’s be the world’s example of tasty, healthy, and sustainable,” a Chilean Agriculture Ministry official said as the event was officially opened.

USDA and Chilean officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the U.S. pavilion at the trade show. The U.S. ambassador to Chile, Bernadette Meehan (second from right), then joined a cheeseburger cooking demonstration featuring American beef and cheese.
U.S. products, from popcorn to seafood, had a significant presence in the “Sabor USA” pavilion, USDA’s program highlighting “Flavors of the U.S.” An anchor of this special section was the USDEC booth, which provided room for cheese sampling as well as space for U.S. dairy companies to meet with current and potential customers. For the first live trade show since 2019, the in-person meetings were a welcome change. After all, it is people that buy dairy products from people.

In addition to the food service companies that attended to source product, many chefs, culinary students, and food enthusiasts toured the trade show. Throughout the event, they enjoyed cooking demonstrations that showed how the unique products they were learning about could be used in the kitchen.

Chef Salas talks about Gorgonzola cheese while making escargot.
U.S. cheese was featured in a demonstration on the main stage by chef Sebastián Salas. Parmesan, cream cheese, Gorgonzola, and Mascarpone were all utilized in the dishes he made for the audience to sample. A certified USA Cheese Specialist, Chef Salas discussed the production and qualities of each cheese as he used it. “Many cheeses from the U.S. have international recognition as the best in their classes,” he pointed out to the audience.

The six U.S. dairy farmers also joined Chef Salas onstage to talk about their farms and how cows are cared for on American dairies. “Nice cheeses are made with nice milk,” Salas said, emphasizing how important it is to tell the story of the people behind that quality milk.

Dairy farmers do not have to promote their work alone, though. Advocates for U.S. dairy exist all along the supply chain. When each uses their avenues to promote the quality products our dairy cows produce, the entire industry is stronger.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
January 5, 2023
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