U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports worldwide increased 9 percent in volume to 1,147,835 metric tons and 8 percent in value to $2.6 billion. U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports climbed 41 percent in volume to 597,964 mt and 53 percent in value to $1.86 billion, reports the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

More than 85 percent of all meat produced worldwide is consumed outside the United States, making the international marketplace a way to sustain prices, which creates a win/win situation for producers, USMEF President Phil Seng says.

Mexico continues to be the No. 1 volume market for pork at 324,630 mt. Meanwhile Japan is highest in value at $945 million. Last month, USMEF representatives worked with chefs at two prestigious hotels in Japan to demonstrate how to cook U.S. pork for holiday season menus. It helped publicize the positive aspects of U.S. pork and educated consumers on its preparation and versatility.

“Working with chefs in these workshops certainly helped change perceptions of U.S. pork and helped promote its positive image to both hotel chefs and a large consumer audience in Japan,” says Greg Hanes, USMEF Japan director.

Pork's growth areas include Russia, where exports shot up 111 percent in volume to 80,594 mt and 129 percent in value to $159.8 million. Hong Kong also had significant gains as volume increased 100 percent to 21,080 mt and 98 percent in value to $35.5 million. South Korea, where domestic meat prices have skyrocketed, remained steady with a 47 percent increase in volume to 94,772 mt and a 43 percent increase in value to $199.2 million.

USMEF held an in-store-promotion for 10 days in October at a Samsung Tesco store in South Korea featuring U.S. pork cuts of single-ribbed belly, collar butt, skirt meat and false lean. To encourage U.S. pork purchases, USMEF provided samples for customers to taste and recipes for preparation and serving ideas.

It was the first time U.S. chilled pork skirt meat and false lean – a small amount of lean meat located over the blade bone on the portion of the full loin – were offered at the store. Results show sales of these cuts increased 5 percent since the promotion ended. Approximately 665 pounds sold during the promotion period and 700 pounds sold in the 10 days following the promotion.

As for U.S. beef, Mexico is the top destination, with volume increasing 33 percent to 339,035 mt and value 35 percent to just more than $1 billion. The Middle East continues to post strong gains due to variety meat sales, increasing 185 percent to 79,993 mt and 74 percent to $104.2 million.

Exports to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore continue to increase since the markets reopened to U.S. beef. USMEF's “We Care” campaign in Japan is rebuilding consumer confidence in U.S. beef by providing tasting samples, information and a positive image. Newspaper and train advertisements last month encouraged consumers to celebrate the holiday season by serving U.S. beef.

Source: The U.S. Meat Export Federation