Preference for U.S. pork increases in Korea, Latin America

The U.S. share of Korea’s total pork imports has increased dramatically this year, from 31 to 35%, even as imports also trended higher from most of Korea’s main suppliers.

 

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation

via National Hog Farmer - Nov 06, 2018

 

As U.S. pork exports continue to be impacted by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico, two other regions have shown an increased hunger for U.S. meat. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, South Korea and Latin America have both become favorable markets for U.S. pork over the last year.

 

“With the high demand for protein, Korea heavily imports U.S. beef and pork,” says Jihae Yang, director of USMEF-Korea. “A lot of the domestic production remains steady and there’s low growth to capture the fast-increasing demand.”

 

Yang says domestic beef and pork supply growth is limited in Korea because of tight environmental regulations and the high cost of feed, labor and other inputs. That’s why the Korean market is turning to the U.S. industry to meet their meat boom needs.

 

September pork exports to South Korea increased 33% from a year ago in volume (12,486 mt) and 30% in value ($33.6 million). Through September, exports increased 43% in volume (172,022 mt) while export value climbed 48% to $489.2 million – already topping the 2017 year-end total of $475 million.

 

The U.S. share of Korea’s total pork imports has increased dramatically this year, from 31 to 35%, even as imports also trended higher from most of Korea’s main suppliers.

 

“The consumption of red meat in Korea has been growing and a greater variety of culinary concepts and the products available to meet the diverse market need,” Yang says.

 

Western culinary concepts such as steak, burger and Korean barbeque are popular there as well as incorporating other authentic Asian cooking concepts such as Vietnamese and Thai food.

 

Another reason for Korean protein demand has been the demographic changes. According to Yang, single households already make up 30% of total households, a figure that has doubled in the last 15 years. Working women are constrained by time and Korean consumers demand for convenience has in turn spurred demand for pre-package meals, Yang says.

 

Finally, the country has shown a growing demand for premium meat. Yang says this has been observed in the spending of millennials. While volume is still limited, there are signs of market diversification.

 

U.S. pork heading south ...

 

Progress in other regions ...

 

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