September 19, 2023


USMEF tours South Korea and Japan to highlight US beef and pork




The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently embarked on a tour of South Korea and Japan to promote US meat exports.


Called the "Heartland Team," the tour featured a diverse group of members, including pork and cattle producers, as well as corn and soybean growers, with the goal of showcasing the value and quality of US beef and pork in two of the largest markets for US meat products.


Starting in Seoul, South Korea, the team engaged with retailers and distributors, while also exploring the e-commerce landscape in the country. The group then traveled to Tokyo, Japan, where they continued their mission of strengthening ties with key stakeholders in the Japanese meat market.


Japan and South Korea hold significant importance to the US beef market. In 2022, South Korea's beef exports reached US$2.7 billion, while Japan stood at US$2.4 billion, ranking number one and number three, respectively, in US meat export destinations, said Dan Halstrom, USMEF's president and chief executive officer.


Halstrom highlighted the diversity in meat preferences between the two nations. In South Korea, beef reigns supreme, while Japan's appetite extends to both beef and pork, he explained.


"Over 50% of their caloric intake of red meat protein is imported," Halstrom noted. "They're big meat eaters — they just don't have enough land and primarily to supply their own needs. This is nothing new. This has been the case for decades. When you're dealing with markets that rely on imports, establishing those relationships over time is key."


Producers were given the opportunity to interact with customers and consumers, emphasising the safety, nutrition, quality and sustainability of US meat products, Halstrom said.


Both South Korea and Japan face concerns about inflation and economic growth. However, their reliance on imported meat products, especially beef and pork, continues to play a vital role in their economies, offering some insulation against broader economic uncertainties, Halstrom noted.

- Pork Business

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