Through the first two months of this year, U.S. pork exports to Mexico slipped 13 percent in volume (98,237 metric tons) and 12 percent in value ($183.4 million) from the record pace of 2012.

Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications says this is due in part to a large increase in Mexico’s poultry imports, which has impacted demand from Mexico’s major meat processors. But Halstrom notes that pork exports to Mexico are still on pace to exceed $1 billion in 2013, and that this market holds excellent potential for pork consumption growth.

While much of the pork exported to Mexico is for further processing, Halstrom sees a wider range of cuts being featured at the retail level. He explains that while Mexico does not require country-of-origin labeling for pork, more and more supermarkets view “U.S. Pork” labeling as a mark of quality and safety that appeals to their customers.