For many years, Japan has been the value pacesetter for U.S. pork exports. Exports to this market first cracked the $1 billion barrier in 2005, and have exceeded $1.5 billion in each of the past three years, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
But when December export totals are available, 2011 will be by far the best year ever. Exports are running nearly 20 percent above the 2010 pace, and strong December results could even push U.S. pork export value beyond the $2 billion mark for the 2011 calendar year.
Because pork commands such a strong price in Japan, it is the number 1 target of most pork-exporting countries. The United States holds about a 45 percent market share of the imported pork entering Japan, and more than 70 percent of the market for high-quality chilled pork.
Yet there is still room for further growth in Japan, as U.S. pork accounts for about 20 percent of Japan’s total consumption when domestic pork is included.
Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing and communications, just returned from a conference with the group's marketing staff in Tokyo, and discusses some of the recent keys to success for U.S. pork in the attached audio report.
Halstrom explains the USMEF marketing initiatives that have been particularly effective for both chilled and frozen pork in Japan, as well as for pork used for further processing.