DENVER – Brand names are increasingly important to global consumers who are looking for quality and consistency, but smaller companies are often challenged when promoting their brand names to international buyers. One solution for small processors is the US Department of Agriculture’s Branded Products Promotion Program. The red meat portion, which is administered through the US Meat Export Federation, has been successful in helping small companies gain entry and establish the identity of their branded products in international markets.

Participants in the USMEF Branded Products Promotion Program use their own money, leveraged with matching funds from the program, to develop export markets for their US red meat exports. Sixteen companies that participated in the 2010 program exported pork and beef to markets that included Mexico, Japan and Europe, and reported estimated sales valued at $8.6 million. In doing so, the companies exceeded their 2009 sales by 64 percent. Program participation is limited to small companies as defined by the Small Business Administration, (eligible companies with 500 or fewer employees), and to producer cooperatives and associations.

Program funds help companies conduct a variety of activities in international markets, including:

* Attend trade fairs and exhibits, including U.S. domestic trade shows with large international attendance.
* Offset costs of promotional materials used in connection with a promotion.
* Assist in paying for costs of retail promotions, including fees for chefs, costumes, signs, displays and fees for demonstration staff.
* Help cover the cost of seminars, including interpreters, seminar materials, set-up costs/room rental, slides and production.
* Translate educational materials such as company brochures and product sheets.
* Conduct retail and HRI promotions.

For more information, contact Tracey Zarlengo at the USMEF Denver office – (303) 623-6328 – or by email at [email protected] for guidelines and proposal format. The application and information on the program also are available on the USMEF website.