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U.S. Pork Export Growth Increases in First Half of 2006

by 5m Editor
3 October 2006, at 10:22am

US - Consumers across the globe are gaining positive experiences with U.S. Pork.

That’s because U.S. Pork posted 14 straight years of record breaking exports through 2005, followed by increased volume exports in the first half of 2006.
From January - July 2006, the volume of total U.S. Pork exports increased nearly 10 percent when compared to the same period in 2005. At the same time, total U.S. pork export value increased nearly 4 percent.

“The National Pork Board and its partner, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), are always looking for opportunities to expand U.S. pork activities and education internationally by attending and conducting more trade shows, seminars, advertising, market tours and retail promotions,” said Wayne Peugh, a pork producer from Edelstein, Ill., and president of the National Pork Board.

The major growth markets, as a percentage increase in volume for January - July 2006 compared to the same period in 2005 were: Russia at 99 percent; Hong Kong at 192 percent; South Korea at 57 percent; and Taiwan at 31 percent. Mexico had strong growth at 20 percent and Canada’s percentage increase in volume was 6 percent.

Approximately 75 percent of year-to-date U.S. Pork exports were fresh, chilled or frozen cuts of pork. The most growth occurred in exports of fresh/chilled pork cuts. Japan, Canada and Mexico, South Korea and Russia were the largest markets for U.S. fresh/chilled pork exports (about 83 percent of U.S. fresh/chilled pork export volume in January - July 2006).

Though recently released export data for July 2006 revealed a year over year decline in pork exports, experts say not to be too alarmed.

According to Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics Inc., “There are several factors to consider when looking at the slight dip in pork export numbers for July. First, U.S. pork prices rose significantly in late May and June. It’s quite possible that the quick increase in product prices cooled some orders.

“Second, Japan's imports of chicken from the United States nearly doubled in June and July vs. one year ago. A plausible explanation for the increased imports from the United States is the Japanese fear of avian flu due to human deaths in Asia. This would explain the surge of U.S. chicken products in 2005 and the return to a normal growth.

“And finally, exports can’t reach record-breaking status all the time. The U.S. pork industry has had an unbelievable run of export growth and year-to- date shipments are still 12.4 percent larger than last year. We have already shipped more pork products overseas this year than we did in all of 2003,” Meyer said.

Similar to their U.S. counterparts, retailers across the globe help make pork sell by giving consumers first- hand experience with the product. With help from USMEF, Japanese retailers conducted in-store promotions providing consumers a taste of the high- quality U.S. Pork product. Pork was also highlighted at two of the largest food shows in Japan, giving a glimpse of these upcoming retail promotions.

Another USMEF program, funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pork Checkoff, was completed in Korea where aggressive in-store promotions of U.S. chilled pork helped contribute to the country’s 57 percent increase in volume.

In Russia, the second annual Pork Festival took place in St. Petersburg, exposing consumers to U.S. pork and leading up to a retail pork program in Russian supermarkets.

“Exports are helping pork producers’ bottom lines grow. In 2005, U.S. pork and variety meat exports valued nearly $2.6 billion,” said Peugh. “The U.S. exports pork at the equivalent of 49,500 U.S. market hogs each day and these hogs were sold internationally at a premium of $23 more per head than their domestic counterparts.”

ThePigSite News Desk

5m Editor