Korean consumers have a taste for pork, and U.S. pork promoters are pushing pork bellies as yet another option.
Using funding from USDA’s Market Access Program and the national pork checkoff, the U.S. Meat Export Federation conducted retail promotions from late through May 7. A second series of promotions will run from May 28 through June 6, 2004. A third round is planned for June 18 to 27.
USMEF chose the largest South Korean retailers for the promotions. Product sampling and in-store decorations are designed to encourage consumers to buy— and meat section managers to promote— U.S.chilled bellies.
The bovine spongiform encephalapothy discoveries in Canada and the United States, have significantly altered the dynamics of South Korea's meat market. Consumers have switched from beef to pork in considerable numbers. In the restaurant sector, high prices for beef and the inconsistent domestic supply has stimulated local barbeque restaurants to add pork items or substitute pork (mainly bellies) for beef.
In recent years, U.S.pork, especially retail cuts like single-ribbed bellies, were not price competitive in Korea due to higher domestic hog production levels and the low price of European bellies. But, as demand has increased, the price at the farm and retail has gone up. The high domestic hog prices have increased U.S. pork's price competitiveness.