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Hungry for recovery

18 June 2009

According to Jose Angel Gurria Treviño, the current Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mexico has seen the worst of the present economic downturn.

Gurria (a Mexican economist and official in the Zedillo administration) is quoted as saying “The strongest, the most important, the most negative of growth or deceleration of the economy, of exports, of industrial production, of employment, etcetera, the most severe has already been seen.”  In other words, all the export income that could have been lost, has been lost, and there’s nowhere to go but up.  People still have to eat.

Bimbo — one of the few Mexican multinationals around — paid off a 600 million dollar “bridge loan” ahead of schedule… something unheard of in this financial climate.  Bimbo paid 2.38 BILLION dollars in January to purchase the baking unit of Canadian food conglomerate George Wesson, Ltd.  While many financial analysts thought the purchase made strategic sense in expanding Bimbo’s global market in the baked goods business, borrowing a huge amount of money in a recession seemed dubious.  However, Bimbo — betting on the continued relative stability of the Mexican Peso — was able to issue peso-denominated bonds last week that raised more than enough cash to pay off the loan.  Not all Bimbos are bimbos.

Add SuKarne Beef to the roster of Mexican firms that are growing — in spite of the recession — in the United States… and even creating jobs. As James Flannigan writes in the New York Times about SuKarne’s U.S. division, Vit Cattle Corporation

… handles exports of Mexican beef to Japan and South Korea, through contracts made in Compton, Calif. The beef originates in SuKarne’s home base in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in northwest Mexico. “Japanese and Korean executives buy here, and they go to inspect the ranches in Mexico, too,” said Jesus Tarriba, manager of Viz Cattle’s warehouse operation in Compton, in southeast Los Angeles County. “Last year we sold $40 million of beef to Japan and Korea and $80 million here in the U.S.”

Viz Cattle has grown rapidly, from less than $10 million in revenue five years ago to $120 million in 2008. And it is doing well this year despite the downturn, Mr. Tarriba said. Its main business is importing beef from Mexico for American restaurants and retailers. “We specialize in smaller cuts of rib-eye and strip steaks because Mexican ranches slaughter livestock at younger ages than American ranches,” Mr. Tarriba said. “Restaurants like those cuts.”

I like those cuts too, for what it’s worth. I am not buying the export quality steaks, but just the regular domestic SuKarne beef — so lean I have to add a little oil to cook it — trucked in every morning to my neighborhood butcher shop. I have Iowa visitors this week who are raving about the good beef… and well they should.

If you by some chance ARE using Sinaloa’s best known agricultural export you may experience an unusual side effect known to science as “the munchies.” The best cure is a Sinaloan beef hamburger… on a Bimbo bun.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. helene permalink
    25 July 2009 6:37 pm

    i can’t find sukarne skirt steak or a website for them. they used to be sold at costco’s. do you know where i can buy sukarne? the meat was very lean and tender! haven’t found any other like it.

  2. Maggie permalink
    18 August 2009 10:34 pm

    In the past I was able to but the delicious skirt steak at my local mexican market in the frozen food section. Unfortunately they no longer have it and my family has desperately been craving for good beef…can someone tell me where to find it in the Southern CA area?


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