As in the United States, consumers' meat-buying habits are shifting elsewhere in the world. Reports out of Japan is that shoppers there are now buying lower-priced meats.

Meat purchases have shifted way from beef and on to pork to chicken, which are more moderately priced than beef, according to Masaharu Watanabe, public relations and consumer affairs for the Japan Chain Stores Association.

Japanese consumers prefer seafood first, followed by meat and poultry, and higher cuts such as loins and tenderloins have tended to be the first choice in those categories. Now, reports are that when Japanese consumers buy beef they are picking up more briskets and chuck rolls, while cube rolls and strip loins have become harder to move.

U.S. Meat Export Federation Japan Director Greg Hanes was upbeat about the shift, noting that U.S. chuck roll and short plates have traditionally been high-demand items in Japan. Pork exports have slowed somewhat, but Japan is still the largest market for U.S. pork.