Consumers around the world are demanding their baby-back ribs. With U.S. pork exports projected to increase to 21.7 billion pounds next year, Excel Fresh Meats is positioned to help customers capitalize on growing global pork consumption. Cargill Meat Solutions is producing culture-specific cuts from a special export room in its Ottumwa, Iowa, plant.


“Cargill Meat Solutions was the first North American company to examine importers’ needs for culture-specific products,” says Chris Trumble, Cargill Meat’s group brand manager for international business. “When we planned the SPEX room, we developed the fabrication process from the perspective of other cultures and customer needs, not from our perspective here in the United States.”


The SPEX room is designed to meet the needs of many different cultures, but it specifically targets Asian cultures. The line workers focus on quality and accuracy as they use non-American techinques to bone the carcasses.


Specific cultural differences include breaking down the carcass with handheld knives in place of saws and using nylon cords to remove ribs. Such details may seem small to Americans, but it’s important to foreign buyers and in the end it helps get more product sold.


“We listen to our customers’ needs and provide a product that their consumers want,” says Trumble. “It is a win-win for the customer and the consumer.”


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