Mexico's economy is showing solid signs of recovery, and that's good news for U.S. exports for both pork and beef in the year ahead.
Last year, Mexico's economy dropped by 7 percent, based on global economic woes, but also due to a major hit involving the Novel H1N1 discovery and outbreak last April. For 2009, Mexico will end up ranking as the No. 1 volume destination for U.S. pork. Mexico ranks No. 1 in both volume and value for U.S. beef exports, notes Chad Russell, the U.S. Meat Export Federation's regional director for Mexico.
"We do believe the economic conditions and circumstances in Mexico will provide a stronger foundation for us to do our work down here and try to build demand for beef and pork," he adds.
Russell believes that favorable market access between the United States and Mexico, as well as excellent consumer acceptance of U.S. meat products should foster further growth of U.S. exports. Of course, the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling issue is something of a cloud hanging over the two countries as Mexico joined Canada in filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization related to the U.S. law.
While Mexico does not require products to identify its country-of-origin, Russell believes should that occur, USMEF's market research suggests that Mexican consumers would find it a positive to see a product identified as from the United States. "They like U.S. products and have confidence in the quality and safety of U.S. meats," he notes.
Russell points out that USMEF has several marketing initiatives underway in Mexico designed to differentiate U.S. pork and beef retail. Among the tactics, USMEF is using recipes and other instructional materials to draw shopper interest at the meat case.