Courtesy of Reg Keddie, Dayton Natural Meats
A growing appetite for red meat, particularly in Asia, bodes well for U.S. meat exports.
Demographic and cultural shifts are changing consumer preference, and the U.S. is seizing new opportunities in both traditional and emerging markets, officials with U.S. Meat Export Federation said last week during a media call.
“We continue to see very good momentum on the beef side globally,” Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, said.
U.S. beef exports were up 6 percent in volume year over year in September and are on a record pace to exceed $8 billion in 2018, he said.
The gains were led by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, highlighting the good news in USMEF’s chilled beef programs. Shipments to Mexico also did well, holding steady with strong comparables a year earlier, he said.
On the pork side, shipments were down slightly but were still solid. While down 2 percent year over year, exports were spurred by South Korea, Japan and Central and South America. While exports volumes held up, value was down 7 percent and mostly related to counter duties in Mexico and Hong Kong/China, he said.
South Korea continues to be the growth pacesetter for both U.S. beef and pork. U.S. beef shipments to its No. 2 market were up 37 percent in volume and 51 percent in value year to date through September. The country’s imports of U.S. pork increased 43 percent in volume and48 percent in value.
South Korea has been an incredible success story and reflects the trend taking place across Asia, which some are calling a meat boom, Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for Asia Pacific said.
There’s an increase in per-capita consumption of meat and a shift from more expensive seafood to meat – which the younger generation sees as easier to prepare than seafood, he said.
The trend is playing out throughout the region, he said.
“We’re seeing through the first nine months of this year increased beef and pork imports, not just from the U.S. but in total from all markets, except in China on pork,” he said.
U.S. beef exports to Japan, the top market for U.S. beef, were up 7 percent in volume and 10 percent in value year to date through September. Beef exports to Hong Kong/China, the fifth-largest destination for U.S. beef, increased 6 percent in volume and 28 percent in value.
Beef exports to Taiwan were up 32 percent in volume and 36 percent in value. Shipments were up 27 percent in volume and 31 percent in value to the Philippines and increased 7 percent in volume and 18 percent in value to Vietnam.
On the pork side, Japan increased its U.S. imports 2 percent in both volume and value. U.S. pork exports were also up 33 percent in volume and 30 percent in value to Taiwan; 25 percent in volume and 14 percent in value to the Philippines; and 615 percent in volume and 431 percent in value to Vietnam. Exports to Hong Kong/China, however, were down 26 percent in volume14 percent in value.