National Pork Board Seeks to Build Lasting Relationships through Asia Trade Mission

VIETNAM – September 25, 2018 – Key leaders of the U.S. pork industry, members of the National Pork Board’s International Marketing committee, have arrived in Vietnam. Their visit to Vietnam – a critical market for U.S. pork exports – is among the several stops on the U.S. pork organization’s Asia Immersion Mission Trip.

The committee began its journey in Singapore and, in total, will make stops in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau. These key Asian markets — including Singapore and Vietnam — are emerging destinations for U.S. pork and the committee will seek to understand consumer preferences and build relationships with buyers, influencers, retailers and other key stakeholders on their journey.

“Consumption of U.S. pork here is on the rise, and this trip offers our industry leaders the unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor and build awareness for U.S. pork and pork products with decision-makers,” said Craig Morris, vice president of international marketing for the National Pork Board. “Our work is underway to become the ‘pork of choice’ going forward in Asia and around the globe.”

Morris added that the National Pork Board’s international marketing strategy is to elevate the outreach and increase the number of direct opportunities to promote U.S. pork on a global basis. The overarching goal hinges on two critical factors – treating each market as a unique opportunity to grow exports and developing meaningful, personal relationships with Asian leaders.

“Our time in Vietnam will be devoted to gathering the critical consumer insights we need to fully tap into the potential in these exciting, unique markets for U.S. pork, like Vietnam,” said Mike Skahill, National Pork Board treasurer and director from Virginia, who is also on the trade mission.

In Vietnam in 2017, the U.S. exported more than $12 million of pork and pork variety meats. Today, Vietnam is a large and growing trading partner for U.S. pork products among the Southeast Asian nations, and second only to the Philippines. Vietnam also imports pork bellies, prepared and preserved hams, and pork variety meats from the United States.

“Consumers in Vietnam, and Singapore, are rapidly increasing the proportion of pork in their diets, which provides an opportunity to capture a growing share of that consumption pie — if we play our cards right,” said Jan Archer, a pig farmer from North Carolina and a Board past-president. “We need to understand the changing consumer and retail landscape in both destinations, share this insight with our industry partners here in the U.S. and deploy targeted marketing campaigns designed to connect with each country’s unique consumer.”

The National Pork Board, working with its partner the U.S. Meat Export Federation, will have an opportunity to view current marketing campaigns in place in Vietnam. Among the highlights of this trip will be to meet the dedicated and knowledgeable staff working on behalf of the industry in these countries to market U.S. pork.

While gathering insights is critical, there is no substitute for face-to-face engagement. In Asia especially, members of the International Marketing committee will take time to meet personally with buyers to build relationships based on mutual respect and friendship. The committee also will work to cement long-standing relationships with critical trading partners.

“In this challenging trade environment, it’s especially critical that we take that time to also meet with our friends and colleagues in Hong Kong and thank them for their continued friendship,” said Randy Spronk, a Minnesota pig farmer and committee member. Spronk is a past president of the National Pork Producers Council, a sister organization to the Pork Checkoff.

Members of the National Pork Board and its International Marketing committee also will meet with government and association officials in Asia during the ten-day trip, paving the way for future shipments of U.S. pork to find a new home abroad and meet the needs of hungry consumers.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at