The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) conducted a month-long Pork Festival at restaurants in three different five-star hotels and in six other top restaurants in St. Petersburg, Russia recently.

U.S. support of the Pork Festival resulted in all restaurants keeping U.S. pork dishes on their menus after the promotion. During the promotion, sales were seven times higher than pre-promotion levels, and three times high following the promotion.

The promotion, funded by Pork Checkoff and USDA’s Market Access Program, included introducing chefs to new dishes made with U.S. pork, featuring high-quality cuts of boneless pork chops and loin. Chefs were then able to expand menus by adding new, high-quality U.S. pork dishes.

USMEF staff educated restaurant staff on the safety, quality and nutritional value of U.S. pork.

U.S. pork exports to Russia in the first 11 months of 2004 are up 305% in volume at 20,026 tons, compared to 5,689 tons in the same period of the previous year. For the month of November, export volume climbed almost 10 times to 8,116 tons, compared to last year’s 826 tons. These figures exclude variety meats since the promotion featured U.S. pork chops and loin cuts.