November 24, 2011


Better economy to stimulate Japanese imports of American pork 



US-based agricultural economist, Dr James Mintert, foresees improvements in the Japanese economy and greater concerns over food safety to stimulate increased sales of North American pork into Japan.


Increased exports are credited for helping restore the profitability of the North American pork industry.


Dr James Mintert, an agricultural economics professor with Purdue University, notes Japan, the largest export customer for US pork, has taken roughly 29% of US pork exports so far this year, and he is optimistic there is room for continued growth for a couple of reasons.


Firstly, there are prospects for some modest improvements in Japan's economy. Dr James has plenty of evidence from around the world that substantiate how an increase in consumers' income benefits pork consumption, and that consumers are keen to consume more animal protein in their diet. 


The next reason is somewhat unknown at this point. However one of the concerns about the food supply in Japan is the kind of implications arising from the tsunami and the impact on the nuclear power plants.


There are some concerns on how Japanese consumers perceive the impact on food safety.


This is probably even more important in Japan than it might be here in Canada or in the US. This is because Japanese consumers have provided a lot of evidence overtime that they are even more concerned about food safety than US and Canadian consumers. Thus, it remains to be seen as to how that manifests itself but there is some possibility that Japanese consumers' perceptions of food safety with respect to imported meat products in particular and pork especially, might change overtime. Moreover, there is a chance that the industry in North America could benefit from perhaps, increased demand associated with that for pork products exported from the North American continent.


Dr Mintert adds, US pork exports to all destinations have been up 14% to 15% from last year, and are about 54% higher than 2007.

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