by Claire Masker

photo of US Pork product demonstration
Chinese importers learn more about the benefits of U.S. pork products at events held in 2016.

China

With more U.S. plants eligible to export pork to China, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is capitalizing on strong pork demand in China. To build stronger relationships between the U.S. and Chinese importers, a seminar was held in partnership with USDA’s Trade Office in Chengdu and the USMEF. The event attracted nearly 300 importers and other potential new buyers of U.S. pork. The goal was to inform member companies and potential U.S. pork buyers about local government policy while strengthening confidence in U.S. products.

Central and South America

Pork exports to this region remained strong in 2016, according to the USMEF. Pork brisket, chops, boneless loin and bacon were among the U.S. cuts showcased at Alimentec 2016, a biennial

image of Columbians learning about US pork
Columbian professionals learn more about the benefits of U.S. pork products at events held in 2016.

food show held in Bogota, Colombia. Information about U.S. pork and menuing ideas for the foodservice industry were shared to help expand the use of U.S. pork beyond Colombia’s processing sector.

Also, the fifth annual Latin American Product Showcase offered educational sessions to provide buyers with information about the positive attributes of U.S. pork and to highlight the value opportunities of underutilized cuts.

Japan

Japan continues to be a highly sophisticated market for U.S. pork. Total U.S. pork exports to Japan trended lower last year, but chilled pork exports set a new record.
The USMEF created a new retail meat tray that doubles as packaging and point-of sale material. Six tray designs incorporated colorful illustrations and the “Gochipo” logo, the umbrella consumer message that means “scrumptious pork.” The tray design included two easy-to-follow American pork recipes for the particular cut sold. USMEF said 2,500 to 3,000 retail outlets participated in the campaign.

japan gochipo promotion
The mascot, Gochipo, promotes U.S. pork in Japan. Gochipo translates to scrumptious pork.

Mexico

In 2016, Mexico was the top importer of U.S. pork and pork variety meat in terms of volume and second in terms of value. Key selling points and the profitability of using U.S. pork were shared with 30 sales team members representing Mexico’s largest importer and foodservice distributor to help the company more effectively promote U.S. pork products to their clients.

Philippines

This market offers great opportunity for U.S. pork exports, said Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the ASEAN region. To introduce and promote U.S. pork to consumers, the first American Meat Fest was held. The four-day event was organized with Iloilo Supermart. This is the largest supermarket chain in the western region of the Philippines and has seven locations. The promotion featured cooking demonstrations and tastings of U.S. pork.

South Korea

Exports to South Korea in 2016 fell below year-earlier levels but had a strong recovery at year’s end. American BBQ is a growing trend sweeping across Korea, according to the Checkoff’s Becca Nepple. While still a new dining concept, it is making gains in the foodservice sector. To capitalize on this trend and the growing number of BBQ-specific dining establishments, the 2nd Annual American BBQ Week featured 15 restaurants working together to showcase American BBQ on their menus.